How PLOS revitalized its production process and reached 85% first proof acceptance


Composition and XML Implementationapex_cms_plos_casestudy_digital


The world’s largest open access publisher of scientific journals, Public Library of Science (PLOS), is driven to deliver accurate scientific information quickly. PLOS knew it needed to revamp its production processes to meet market expectations, stay competitive with new publishers adopting open access models, and improve return on investment (ROI).

“Apex’s approach is totally professional and customer-oriented. They helped us reinvent our outdated, circuitous workflows and challenged us to implement automations that have brought our production processes into the 21st century.”

– Editorial Director Helen Atkins, PLOS

Previously, PLOS’ production processes and workflows were inefficient having not been updated to adapt to the organization’s growing volume. PLOS needed a partner that could accelerate time-to-market for its high-volume, article-based work while continuing to meet its exceptional accuracy standards.


Apex Content & Media Solutions was brought in to institute cutting-edge workflows and technologies that would transform PLOS’ production in a matter of months.

Using Apex’s web-based management tracking platform, ProTrak, our unique XML-first workflow, and other Apex technologies, PLOS reduced its time from acceptance to publication by an average of 12–27 days (depending on journal) and reduced its per-article production costs by 25%.


A true partnership effort, PLOS and Apex were able to revolutionize PLOS’ production process keeping it well ahead of the competition, as shown in the following:

  • More than 30,000 scientific articles published annually
  • Costs decreased by 25%
  • Cut time from acceptance to publication by up to 27 days
  • PLOS ONE’s first-proof acceptance rate jumped to 85%
  • Modernized, efficient workflows were implemented
  • PLOS and its authors extremely satisfied

“It’s been a pleasure working with Apex. I’ve enjoyed solving problems alongside someone who has an equal, if not better, grasp of the content standards and workflows. I’ve collaborated with a number of onsite project managers (PMs) in my work, and I’d rank Apex’s project management among the best of them.”

– Editorial Director Helen Atkins, PLOS

Ready to reinvigorate your publishing workflows? Contact Apex.

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