Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) is a peer-reviewed scientific journal established in 1914 as the official journal of the US National Academy of Sciences. The first managing editor of the journal was mathematician Edwin Bidwell Wilson. As of May 2012, the editor-in-chief is Inder M. Verma. PNAS is published weekly in print, and daily online in PNAS Early Edition.

The first issue of PNAS was published in 1915, and the journal continues to publish highly cited research reports, commentaries, reviews, perspectives, features, profiles, letters, and actions of the Academy. PNAS covers all aspects pertaining to biological, physical, and social sciences. Although most papers published in the journal are on biomedical sciences, PNAS recruits papers and publishes special features in physical and social sciences as well as in mathematics.

In 2003, PNAS issued a statement on its policy of publication of sensitive material in life sciences. It stated that it would “monitor submitted papers for material that may be deemed inappropriate and that could, if published, compromise the public welfare.” The editorial coincided statements given by several other journals.

In 2005, PNAS published an article on bioterrorism on the food supply despite objections raised by the US Dept. of Health and Human Services. The paper, titled “Analyzing a bioterror attack on the food supply: The case of botulinum toxin in milk,” was published with a commentary by the president of the Academy at the time — Bruce Alberts.

PNAS is widely distributed, but mostly directed to those involved in basic sciences. PNAS Online receives more than 21 million hits per month. Articles are available as open-access six months after being published, or immediately if authors choose the “open access” option when submitting papers. 139 developing countries around the world receive access freely.

Because PNAS is self-sustaining and receives no direct funding from the government or the NAS, the journal charges authors publishing fees and subscription fees to offset the cost of the publication process. PNAS has also received criticism for its practice of releasing papers to science journalists as much as a week before making them available to the public.

In January 2011, PNAS started taking papers for its online only section of the journal — PNAS Plus.

Image Caption: Cover of PNAS. Credit: Wikipedia

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