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Plain Language Summaries of Publications (PLS-P)

What are Plain Language Summaries of Publications (PLS-Ps)?

It is widely acknowledged that scientific information needs to be made more accessible to a broader audience, including patients, non-specialists and the general public. The technical language and jargon used in scholarly articles can act as a barrier to further understanding. Plain Language Summaries of Publications (PLS-Ps) are full, standalone, peer-reviewed articles written in approachable, non-technical language. They are designed to allow scholarly articles to be understood by non-specialist audiences.

  • They are usually written by the authors of the original publication, although related members of the public may also be included as authors to provide their perspective on the research.
  • PLS-Ps are considered an Acceptable Secondary Publication in the ICMJE guidelines. 
  • They may summarise any article, including existing articles from other publications or publishers.
  • They have their own DOI which means they can be indexed in databases, and are fully citable and discoverable using appropriate tagging.
  • PLS-Ps can be downloaded for free by any reader under a Creative Commons Open Access license.

Writing a PLS-P

When writing a PLS-P, consider all the things mentioned above in the How to write a PLS section. It is important to note that a PLS-P should also include a clear link to the original publication which you aim to summarise, and any resources which readers may use to deepen their understanding of the topic.

Envision Pharma have created an online toolkit to help authors write PLS-Ps, which can be found here: Information on involving patients as authors can also be found here: 

If you are interested in submitting a PLS-P, please get in touch with Hamish McDougall (, and we can provide further information.

Journals that accept PLS-Ps

  • The Journal of Medicine Access
  • Therapeutic Advances in Cardiovascular Disease
  • Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease
  • Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety
  • Therapeutic Advances in Endocrinology and Metabolism
  • Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology
  • Therapeutic Advances in Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
  • Therapeutic Advances in Hematology
  • Therapeutic Advances in Infectious Disease
  • Therapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology
  • Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease
  • Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders
  • Therapeutic Advances in Ophthalmology
  • Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology
  • Therapeutic Advances in Rare Disease
  • Therapeutic Advances in Reproductive Health
  • Therapeutic Advances in Respiratory Disease
  • Therapeutic Advances in Urology
  • Therapeutic Advances in Vaccines and Immunotherapy
  • Women’s Health