Aims and Scope
Continuing its long history of influential scientific publishing, Philosophical Transactions B publishes high quality theme issues on topics of current importance and general interest within the life sciences, guest-edited by leading authorities and comprising new research, reviews and opinions from prominent researchers. Each issue aims to create an original and authoritative synthesis, often bridging traditional disciplines, which showcases current developments and provides a foundation for future research, applications and policy decisions.
Issues are either based on the internationally acclaimed Royal Society Discussion Meetings (royalsociety.org/events) or are stand-alone topics commissioned by the journal or proposed by the guest editors. All contributions are invited and the journal does not accept unsolicited stand-alone papers. All articles are peer reviewed and edited to the highest standards.
Editor and Editorial Board
You can find out about the Editor, Professor John Pickett, and his vision for the journal in this interview.
See the list of board members on our Editorial Board page.
A list of the main citation metrics, including the current Impact Factor can be found here.
The Royal Society is a signatory of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). This declaration challenges the role played by the Impact Factor as the main means for evaluating science, and promotes the assessment of research on its own merits rather than on the basis of the journal in which the research is published.
Contributing to Philosophical Transactions B
The journal only publishes invited papers as part of theme issues.
Guest editing an issue gives you an opportunity to put together a collection of cutting-edge and thought-provoking papers that will be useful to other researchers in the field. For information about submitting a proposal for a potential theme issue, please see our Guidelines page.
Comments and invited replies
The journal will consider comments on individual papers. Comments bring attention to an oversight in an article or propose an opposing view. They are often a critique, providing corrections or offering new analyses. An example of a comment can be found here. Comments are self-proposed by any reader shortly after the initial article is published (ideally within 6 months of online publication), and are published in a later issue. Comments are peer-reviewed, and will only be published if it adds something to the discussion. The authors of the original paper will be invited to publish a formal reply alongside the comment. To submit a comment please contact the Editorial Office.
Advantages of Publishing in Philosophical Transactions B
- The world's first science journal; previous authors include icons such as Charles Darwin, Alexander Fleming, James Watson and Francis Crick and Dorothy Hodgkin.
- The journal is a unique model that offers the combined advantages of book and journal publishing. Each issue has its own ISBN number and dedicated media and marketing plan, whilst all articles still retain the ability to be individually cited.
- The Guest Editor has the flexibility to shape the issue's subject coverage. Each issue can include a range of types of paper, and provides a forum for discussion and collaboration across traditional discipline boundaries.
- Reaches a wide and relevant international readership, aided by media promotion, marketing and our policy of perpetual access and extensive free access to articles.
- Each issue receives constructive peer-reviewing, high production standards and dedicated media promotion and marketing.
- All content is made freely available one year after publication, or immediately through the Royal Society’s competitively priced author-pays open access scheme.
- Contribute to an organization that recognises, promotes, and supports excellence in science.
History of the Journal
The Royal Society was founded in 1660 to promote the new experimental philosophy of that time, embodying the principles of Sir Francis Bacon. Henry Oldenburg was appointed as the first secretary to the Society and he was also the first editor of the Society's journal Philosophical Transactions. The first issue of Philosophical Transactions appeared in March 1665 and featured Oldenburg's correspondence with leading European scientists. In its formative years Isaac Newton had seventeen papers published in the journal including his first paper - New Theory about Light and Colours - which effectively served to launch his scientific career in 1672. In the same year his new reflecting telescope was described and the original drawing was also published in the journal. Philosophical Transactions has also published the work of Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday, William Herschel and many more celebrated names in science.
In 1887 the journal expanded to become two separate publications, one serving the biological sciences ('B') and the other serving the physical sciences ('A'). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society has the prestige of being the world's longest running science journal.