Publishing values

We are committed to high quality, open and ethical publishing

As the UK national academy of science, we play a key role in the global scientific community. We have a duty to hold ourselves accountable and ensure that the communities we serve can transparently see how we are supporting them as the research ecosystem evolves. 

Research integrity

The Royal Society’s fundamental purpose is to recognise and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity and the good of the planet. Manuscripts submitted to Royal Society journals receive rigorous and constructive peer review overseen by practising scientists who are world-class experts in their respective fields. Our editorial boards are each chaired by a Fellow of the Royal Society and made up of distinguished scientists in relevant disciplines.

Open science

We support open access as a means of maximising the dissemination and re-use of research outputs and advocate open science policies, supporting the research community with open science practices.

Ethical publishing

Our charitable status means that the income we generate goes back into supporting and progressing the global scientific community, helping to address global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity and food security through the activities of the Royal Society including funding research, holding scientific meetings, encouraging international collaboration, public engagement and providing science advice to policymakers. 

Our Royal Society Open Access Equity scheme supports tens of thousands of researchers based in over 100 low- and middle-income countries and territories with free access and automatic APC waivers.


Our authors are absolutely fundamental to the quality, value and success of the Royal Society journals. We are committed to providing a positive author experience and disseminating research outputs as widely as possible. Our publishing policies ensure that published research is re-usable so it can deliver the greatest impact for other researchers to build on. 

We provide:

  • A welcome to any researcher in the world wanting to publish high-quality science from any scientific discipline whatever their financial situation
  • Automatic waivers for open access article processing charges (APCs) in all Royal Society journals for researchers in eligible low and middle-income countries
  • A commitment to promote the highest ethical publication practices across all our journals
  • rapid first decision; rigorous and trustworthy peer review from experts in the field  
  • The opportunity to publish research open access in any of our journals  
  • A commitment to the principles of open science, transparency and reproducibility  
  • Additional support and guidance for early career researchers 
  • Transfer option to Royal Society Open Science for consideration where an article is declined from one of our other journals because of scope (but where the science is sound) 
  • High-quality online publication with open identifiers and full linking to open datasets and the wider literature 
  • Visibility and impact, not just with the scientific community, but the wider public 
  • The option to publish a wide range of articles - from research to evidence synthesis, reviews and Registered Reports


We recognise that the quality and integrity of research published in the Royal Society's journals is critically dependent on the hard work and expertise of our peer reviewers.  

We provide:

  • An opportunity to contribute to the integrity and progress of science
  • A chance to reciprocate the benefits to others who review papers 
  • Recognition through the Web of Science Reviewer Recognition Service and inclusion in an annual citable journal article containing the list of reviewers who have opted to receive recognition
  • An option to sign published reports for Proceedings A, B, Royal Society Open Science and Open Biology and contribute to transparent peer review
  • Article processing charge discounts on a future publication (for reviewers who meet our quality and timeliness criteria)
  • Flexibility on deadlines for reviewers with heavy workloads
  • Opportunities for early career researchers to co-review with a more senior (invited) reviewer   


Research published in the Royal Society journals is disseminated as widely as possible to communicate the latest research to the scientific community and to the wider public and policy makers.  

We provide: 

  • A range of thorough checks to ensure the integrity of what we publish. We take full responsibility for the veracity of what we publish and we will always investigate queries about data, conclusions, allegations of fraud etc and will retract articles if necessary
  • 100% of article abstracts published open access
  • 62% (and growing) of articles published open access 
  • Free access to low- and medium-income countries
  • High-quality presentation and accessibility 
  • Publication of peer review reports alongside articles published in Proceedings A, B, Royal Society Open Science and Open Biology
  • Datasets available alongside articles as required by our open data policies
  • Unrestricted text and data mining for any purpose
  • Article level metrics 
  • Citation, ORCID and author linking
  • Subject collections


We make accessing research published in the Royal Society journals straightforward and transparent for librarians and institutions. 

We provide:

  • A sustainable transition to open access
  • Truly Transformative Agreements 
  • A range of packages and models to suite every institutional need 
  • COUNTER-compliant data  
  • Open and transparent policies including our Transparent Pricing Mechanism 
  • A network of local and regional representatives to help you in your time zone 
  • Easy to use systems and reporting tools, e.g., CCC Rightslink and OA Switchboard 
  • Additional free primary archive material from our 360 year-old collections with Science in the Making 

Community commitment  

We support the global scientific community by providing funds to support the wider work of the Royal Society and delivering a publishing process that makes publishing fair and accessible for all. 

We provide: 

  • A venue for researchers anywhere in the world to publish high-quality science. To support this, we are actively increasing diversity of editors and reviewers
  • A public commitment to flip our research journals to fully open access publication
  • Support for lower income communities by providing free access to our journal content and an automatic, full waiver of open access charges


By joining forces with leading organisations and institutions, we are collectively supporting the advancement of science. We partner with the following organisations whose aim is also to further high quality, open and ethical publishing. 

  • Society Publishers’ Coalition - we are a founding member of a group of over 130 likeminded, not-for-profit learned societies and publishers worldwide who are committed to making the transition to open access. According to findings of a recent report, when viewed as a single entity, the Society Publishers’ Coalition can be seen as ‘the third most influential publisher’.
  • DORA - as part of our commitment to promote best practices in research assessment, we have signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) to advance practical and robust approaches to research assessment on a global scale.
  • bioRxiv - we are dedicated to increasing the accessibility of research and ensuring that it is communicated as rapidly as possible and encourage our authors to deposit in preprint repositories. We also have a plugin to allow direct submission from bioRxiv to our journals.
  • Committee for Publication Ethics (COPE) - We have been a member since 2009. COPE brings together all those involved in scholarly research and its publication to strengthen the network of support, education and debate in publication ethics.
  • Open Access Scholarly Publishers’ Association (OASPA) - We have been a member since 2011. OASPA works to encourage and enable open access as the predominant model of communication for scholarly outputs.
  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) - Royal Society Open Science and Open Biology have been awarded the DOAJ Seal, only given to journals that demonstrate best practice in open access publishing.
  • ORCID - We have been a member since 2016. ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier or ORCID iD that individual researchers own and control, and that distinguishes them from every other researcher. We were the first publisher in the world to require an ORCID iD from submitting authors.
  • Crossref - We have been a member since 2000. Crossref makes research objects easy to find, cite, link, assess, and reuse by operating a global DOI registry for scholarly content.
  • OA Switchboard - We are a founding partner of the OA Switchboard which seeks to solve the 'many to many' transactions problem in open access as a neutral, independent intermediary, providing shared infrastructure, standards and back office services for funders, institutions and publishers.