The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), mostly commonly referred to as PNAS, is the official publication of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. It is a biweekly journal of all sciences, with a particular focus on the biological sciences. It is notable for its policy of making the full text of the articles freely available to all 6 months after the original publication date, conforming with the "open access" policy proposed by the Public Library of Science. Immediate full-text access (without the 6-month delay) is available in more than 130 developing countries.

Members of the National Academy, all of whom have distinguished themselves as scientists, may publish research reports in PNAS without the conventional anonymity of peer review: Instead, members solicit reviews from scientists of their own choosing. They also select the reviewers of reports by other scientists, which as members they may sponsor or "communicate" to the journal. These review policies have provoked criticism by scientists, not least from Academy members. Critics objected to the policy both in principle (as more vulnerable to favoritism and cronyism) and because it had led, they argued, to a lending of the Academy imprimatur to weak or faulty studies, which did not deserve publication in a premier journal. In the past, communicated articles were not identified as such, but the journal recently began to do so.

It should be noted that PNAS also publishes many articles that neither have been authored nor sponsored by Academy members. These independently submitted manuscripts are peer reviewed as they would be at other scientific journals.

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Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04