Topic Pages

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Topic Pages: Guidance for Authors

Topic Pages are a copy of record of educational materials suitable for the journal readership, which will seed a new Wikipedia page after publication in PLOS Computational Biology (see introductory editorial[1] and blog post[2] as well as a more recent case study[3] and PLOS Computational Biology's Topic Pages collection[4]). Topic Pages may cover algorithms, methods, processes and topics of interest to the readership; they should not be currently covered in (the English-language) Wikipedia, or show only a rating of “Stub-Class” on Wikipedia’s quality scale.

Before writing your article, please email to discuss the topic’s suitability with the journal’s editors. Please include in your email a Wikipedia-style lead for the article-to-be, along with a sketch of the expected Table of Contents for your article and the titles of five Wikipedia entries (of which at least two should already exist) that should or already do link to the article you plan to write.



Topic Pages Wiki draft & public review → PLOS publication if accepted → Author uploads to Wikipedia

Topic Pages are created, peer reviewed, and edited on the Topic Pages Wiki authoring tool ( in the style of a Wikipedia page: it is very important to be aware of the fundamental principles by which Wikipedia operates ( before the page is drafted. First-time users will need to request a Topic Pages Wiki account (via “Log in/create account”). When preparing your Topic Page on Topic Pages Wiki, please adhere to PLOS’ formatting requirements as far as possible. Formatting requirements are broadly similar between PLOS and Wikipedia, but there may be some differences. Authors not familiar with writing for the English Wikipedia are strongly encouraged to go through at least one of the Topic Pages that have already been published (see this dedicated category) in detail, taking note of the writing style and linking patterns in particular. Some appropriate guidelines are referenced below.

Once the on-wiki draft is ready for editorial consideration, authors should email the PLOS Computational Biology journal office at Please include within your message suggestions for at least three reviewers, along with their contact details and your reasons for suggesting each person. Please note that editors many not use your suggestions, but your help is appreciated and may speed up the selection of appropriate reviewers.

Once the on-wiki draft is accepted, authors must email their source files to the journal office staff (, who will then upload them ready for production. Please be prepared to provide an article file and separate figure files. Please state in the email if you have any competing interests or funding to declare, and indicate or confirm who should be listed as the corresponding author. At the point of publication in PLOS Computational Biology, the journal office will notify the authors; the authors are then required to upload the text to Wikipedia at their earliest opportunity. It is the authors’ responsibility to ensure that Wikipedia’s conventions are followed when adding or editing the page on Wikipedia. Please contact if you have any questions about the article or its formatting. The publication in PLOS Computational Biology will be accompanied by the reviews (always) and reviewer identities (when revealed). This information will not be uploaded to the corresponding Wikipedia page but to its talk page instead.

Basic Organization of the Article in Topic Pages Wiki, PLOS, and Wikipedia

Instructions/items with a globe apply to the PLOS submission (and Topic Pages Wiki drafting process) but should not be followed/included in the version uploaded to Wikipedia. W shows that information refers only to the later submission to Wikipedia.

Authors and Affiliations

Provide the first names or initials (if used), middle names or initials (if used), surnames, and affiliations—department, university or organization, city, state/province (if applicable), and country—for all authors. One of the authors should be designated as the corresponding author, with an email address. It is the corresponding author's responsibility to ensure that the author list is accurate and complete.

W Please provide an ORCID for each author, so that the Wikidata item about your PLOS Computational Biology article can be properly set up.

Title (150 characters or less)

The title should be very concise and limited to a description of the topic being discussed, in keeping with the style of titles of Wikipedia articles (

Article Organization

Your article should begin with an introductory section that provides a definition of the article's topic and links it to related topics. It does not contain section headings. The remainder should be divided into sections; each with a section heading that can be nested in a hierarchy of a maximum of three heading levels. (Text adapted from Wikipedia’s Manual of Style; for more information see


When using a specialist term for the first time, add a wikilink to the corresponding Wikipedia entry. Hyperlinks other then to Wikipedia may be included in the text. They should be archived by way of WebCite.


Try to limit your references to published or accepted manuscripts, books etc. Please style your references according to the instructions here: Example: In the text: “as seen in recent work [56],…”. In the reference list: “56. Garami A, Zwartkruis FJT, Nobukuni T, Joaquin M, Roccio M, et al. (2003) Insulin activation of Rheb, a mediator of mTOR/S6K/4E-BP signaling, is inhibited by TSC1 and 2. Mol Cell 11: 1457-1466.”

W Wikipedia’s instructions on citing sources can be found here: Especially useful is the Cite doi template.


All tables should have a concise title.

Tables in the PLOS article should be numbered and cited in the main text, e.g Table 1, Table 2, etc.) and cited sequentially at least once in the text. Tables should be placed at the end of the text file. For more information, please use the table guidelines for PLOS (


Images, Figures and Multimedia

Provide a concise title for each figure, followed by a short factual description (if necessary).

Images in the article should be numbered and cited in the main text, e.g., Image 1, or Figure 1 etc.) and cited sequentially at least once in the text, with figure legends listed at the end of the article text. For the article to be accepted for publication in PLOS, you will need to supply high-resolution versions of the figures in TIF or EPS format only (SVG versions thereof can be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, see Wikipedia section). When preparing your figures, please ensure that the files conform to our Guidelines for Figure and Table Preparation ( and provide files ready sized at 1-column width: 3.27 Inches/8.3 cm/235.53 Points/19.62 picas.

All files will be published under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CCAL, cf., which allows them to be freely used, distributed, and built upon as long as proper attribution is given. Please do not submit any figures that have been previously copyrighted, unless you have express written permission from the copyright holder to publish under the CCAL license. Of note, many files on Wikimedia Commons are available under a Creative Commons Share-Alike license (the default license across most Wikimedia projects), which means they cannot be reused within a CCAL article (using them on Wikipedia is fine). Authors uploading their own original figures should make them available under a Creative Commons Attribution License to enable reuse in the CCAL article if accepted for publication.

W Images should be in SVG format if possible. For photographs, any original format will do. Copyright information will be required for the File page for each figure when uploaded into Wikipedia ( PLOS’ CCAL license is fully compatible with use on Wikipedia after publication, providing you cite the PLOS article.

Acknowledgments (optional)

People who contributed to the work but do not fit the criteria for authors may be listed in the Acknowledgments, along with their contributions. You must also ensure that anyone named in the Acknowledgments agrees to being so named. Do not include funding information in the Acknowledgments.

Details of any funding sources that have supported the work should be confined to the funding statement provided to staff at the point of acceptance (typically we will state that: ‘The authors received no specific funding for this work’).

See also

W Please link from here any existing Wikipedia entries that are relevant to your article but not linked from it elsewhere.

Pages that should link here

W Please list here any existing Wikipedia entries that should link to your article. See Circular permutation in proteins for an example.

Multimedia Files and Supporting Information

PLOS staff will upload the history of the Topic Pages Wiki article (including previous versions) and the reviews and responses to reviewers. We aim to make the review process open, publishing the names of reviewers where possible.

Audio or video files may be appropriate for some Wikipedia articles. Such files may be submitted to PLOS as supporting information.

W For information about the types of multimedia files preferred by Wikipedia, see

W Basic Checklist for Uploading to Wikipedia after Publication in PLOS

PLOS staff will contact you to let you know when your article is being published. Please be ready to upload your article to Wikipedia after publication in PLOS.

W Acknowledging PLOS on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia provides a {{PLOS Computational Biology}} template that should be added to the bottom of articles and that should link to the original version of the article. It also adds the Wikipedia page to Category:PLoS Computational Biology articles.

Did you know (optional)

W New or significantly expanded articles can be nominated to be featured on the Main Page in the Did you know section. You can facilitate this process by highlighting one or several statements that are supported by a citation and would fit into a short "Did you know that ...?" sentence, optionally accompanied by an image or media file. Example: Circular permutation in proteins (archived copy of the Main Page with that article in DYK; traffic stats).

Wikidata (optional)

W Given that "Wikidata is to structured data what Wikipedia is to free text"[5] and may well become "the central hub for linked open life science data",[6] we strongly recommend that you help set up and improve the Wikidata items corresponding to your Topic Page - one for the Wikipedia topic, one for the PLOS Computational Biology article.


  1. ^ Wodak SJ, Mietchen D, Collings AM, Russell RB, Bourne PE (2012) Topic Pages: PLoS Computational Biology Meets Wikipedia. PLoS Comput Biol 8(3): e1002446. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002446
  2. ^ Rosemary Dickin (2012) Bridging the Journal-Wikipedia gap
  3. ^ Martin Poulter (2014) Publishing scholarly papers with, and on, Wikipedia (a case study)
  4. ^ Table of Contents: PLOS Computational Biology: Topic Pages
  5. ^ Andrew I. Su, Benjamin M. Good, Chinmay Naik and Adriel Carolino (2014) Centralized Model Organism Database (Biocuration 2014 poster). SlideShare
  6. ^ Benjamin Good, Andrew Su und Andra Waagmeester (2014). Establishing Wikidata as the central hub for linked open life science data
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