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Press Release | Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Academies release joint guidelines on good science publishing

The number of scientific publications and journals is increasing constantly. Researchers have to stay current with ever more new scientific literature in their field and are also under increasing pressure to visibly publish their own findings in competition with their colleagues in the field. At the same time, it is become increasing difficult, particularly for non-scientists, to identify which journals are serious scientific publications. The large number of new online journals also includes “pseudo-journals” where the selection, editing and review of the submitted articles is often not transparent or does not meet scientific standards.France’s Académie des sciences, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, and the UK’s Royal Society are drawing attention to this situation and have developed joint guidelines for high-quality publications in scientific journals. These were presented to the EU Commissioner for Science and Innovation, Carolos Moedas, in Brussels.

The Académie des sciences, the Leopoldina, and the Royal Society have written these guidelines for good science publishing with four fundamental principles in mind: efficient and high-quality dissemination of scientific information, avoidance of conflicts of interest, fair review of articles, and selection and editing of the articles by recognised scientists.

The recommendations of the three national science academies include:

  • The selection and editing of submitted articles should be coordinated and monitored exclusively by recognised scientists. The Editor-in-Chief should be a highly recognised scientist who is aided by an editorial committee. The academies encourage emphasising scientific quality, methodological rigour and statistical soundness over potential impact, novelty and fashionability in the selection of articles.
  • The reviewers should respond to a request to review within a few days where possible, limit the length of their reports and express their views in the form of clear and fair recommendations. The reviewers should inform the editorial committee of possible conflicts of interest without delay.
  • The principle of anonymity of the reviewers must be respected unless they have chosen to waive it. Publication of the review reports should be considered in order to encourage more balanced and professional peer review and to discourage personal attacks on authors.
  • Scientific journals safeguard the scientific quality of publications. To minimise delays in the dissemination of research findings, articles should also be deposited in open archives and preprint repositories. A publication in these systems should not be a hindrance to later publication in a scientific journal.
  • The academies support efforts to increase open access and believe that funds currently spent on journal subscriptions should be re-directed to fund publication charges. The payment of an article processing charge must be clearly separated from the editorial decision. At the same time, authors should always retain their intellectual property rights.



Caroline Wichmann

Head of Department Press and Public Relations

Phone 0345 - 472 39 - 800
Fax 0345 - 472 39 - 809
E-Mail presse(at)leopoldina.org