Purpose of App Review

  • To assess an open access, current awareness app for on-the-go access to scholarly articles.


The PLoS ONE app for Android acts as a quick access point to recently published articles within an area of interest.

Users can view a general list of recently added PLoS articles or refine the list of references by looking within designated topics. There are more than two dozen content areas that users can focus on (listed later), making it an app that should be of interest to clinicians from any background.

The following is a list of all possible research areas to choose from:

  • Immunology
  • Oncology
  • Diabetes
  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Biotechnology
  • Cardiovascular
  • Cell Biology
  • Chemical Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Critical Care
  • Dermatology
  • Evidence in Healthcare
  • Gastroenterology and Hepatology
  • Genetics and Genomics
  • Hematology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology
  • Rheumatology
  • Radiology
  • Nephrology
  • Nutrition
  • Obstetrics
  • Ophthalmology
  • Pathology
  • Pediatrics
  • Pharmacology
  • Surgery
  • Urology
  • Women’s Health

Users of any level or focus can find something useful with the PLoS ONE app, if it worked properly.

User Interface

The minimalist design of PLoS ONE makes it easy for users to handle, but its lack of functionality and advanced sharing options leaves it lagging in the wake of some other more functionally successful current awareness research apps.

Choosing an area of focus from the list brings users to an error message stating that there is a problem with the feed for this research area. Upon further investigation, it’s apparent that all research areas on the list have broken or problematic feeds. The only list of references users can view is the Most Recent ones, which is what the app defaults to.

Now, working with the only available section (Most Recent), users can tap on a desired article to read the abstract (if one is available). Users are given a few share options (e.g. e-mail, Dropbox, Google Drive, EverNote, Twitter, Facebook, etc.). They can also link to the article by tapping the menu icon on their device.

Though these options are available when on a desired article, it doesn’t excuse the fact that the app is riddled with error messages about broken feeds and insufficient functionality, making PLoS ONE an unsuccessful resource in keeping users up to date on recently published literature.


error message


share or link

share options


  • Free


  • Simple design
  • The lengthy list of research areas (if they worked properly)
  • Sharing/storing options
  • Linking to full text on the web


  • Broken feeds is a major problem with this app


  • In theory, this app would be a fine resource for remaining up-to-date on published research in an area of focus
  • Has a comprehensive list of research areas to choose from
  • Functionality is lacking on the level of choosing a specific research area to focus on

iMedicalApps recommended?

  • Not with broken feeds for research areas

Google Play Link


Rating: (1 to 5 stars) – 3

  1. User Interface – 3
  2. Multimedia usage – 3
  3. Price – 5
  4. Real world applicability – 1

Phone used for review: Samsung Fascinate (Galaxy S phone)



This post does not establish, nor is it intended to establish, a patient physician relationship with anyone. It does not substitute for professional advice, and does not substitute for an in-person evaluation with your health care provider. It does not provide the definitive statement on the subject addressed. Before using these apps please consult with your own physician or health care provider as to the apps validity and accuracy as this post is not intended to affirm the validity or accuracy of the apps in question. The app(s) mentioned in this post should not be used without discussing the app first with your health care provider.