DES3478_RSOS_September cover_300x424Phil Hurst, Publisher at the Royal Society on the launch of Royal Society Open Science.

“Recent changes and debates within the academic community have focussed on issues with peer-review, reproducibility, impact factor and transparency. We are excited about the launch of our new journal, Royal Society Open Science which sets out to address some of these issues.

The journal is the first in our portfolio to operate ‘objective’ peer-review. This means that the journal will publish all articles which are scientifically sound without making judgement of importance or potential impact. Of course, an article will need to sufficiently advance scientific knowledge but we would like to enlist the help of the scientific community in judging impact and importance (which depend very much on the audience and field) once articles are published. Our new commenting facility ‘Disqus’, available on each published article, will facilitate timely comments and discussion.

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To help the community to assess articles, we will strive to be as transparent as possible. Therefore, articles are published on an open access basis, along with open data and (where possible) open peer review information. The availability of a range of article level metrics will encourage a shift towards the scientific content of an article, rather than the impact factor of the journal in which it was published.

Another exciting opportunity is to cover the entire range of science, engineering and mathematics and publish it on an open access basis. The challenge is to satisfy the specific publishing needs of different disciplines – for instance computer scientists have very different publishing practices to cell biologists. To cover this broad scope we have established a team of Subject Editors, each with the support of Associate Editors.

The Royal Society has influenced scientific publishing from its inception. The 350th anniversary of scientific publishing will be observed on 6 March 2015, which is when the Royal Society officially launched the world’s first scientific journal, Philosophical Transactions.

The scientific publishing model continues to evolve. We hope that Royal Society Open Science is an important step in this evolution!”

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