Science Advances advancing

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Science  06 Jul 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6397, pp. 7
DOI: 10.1126/science.aau6038

In February 2014, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) announced the decision to launch Science Advances as a way to “expand the…content of Science” (science.sciencemag.org/content/343/6172/709.full). The new publication was envisioned as a multidisciplinary, open-access, digital-only journal, edited by a team of scientists actively engaged in research. The first Science Advances papers were published within a year. Now, nearly three-and-a-half years later, Science Advances is soon to publish its 2000th paper—a good time to examine how the journal is fulfilling its founding vision.


These 2000 papers have been selected from over 15,000 manuscripts submitted to Science Advances. They have been handled by a dedicated board of deputy editors working with an outstanding group of associate editors (advances.sciencemag.org/content/editorial-board). The current 11 deputy editors have expertise in chemistry, materials science and engineering, physics, molecular biology and genetics, biomedical sciences, biophysics, cognitive and molecular neuroscience, Earth and environmental sciences, space sciences, and social sciences and interdisciplinary research. The board of associate editors currently includes 134 individuals with expertise focused within subdisciplines in these areas. The editors work to foster fast and fair expert peer review with the goal of yielding a selection of research that reflects the boundaries of new knowledge, while aligned with the standards of Science.

Science Advances was envisioned to cover research areas as broad as, or even broader than, those covered by Science. This breadth can be examined by using previously described methods based on natural language processing analysis of abstracts (blogs.sciencemag.org/sciencehound/2017/01/05/science-family-journal-content-analysis/). Analysis of Research Articles and Reviews published in Science Advances through May 2018, and Science's Reports, Research Articles, and Reviews published over the same period, confirms that both journals span similar areas of science. Of the papers published in Science, ∼25% are in physical sciences and engineering; 50% in life sciences; 20% in Earth, environmental, and space sciences; and 5% in social sciences and interdisciplinary research. Interestingly, ∼45% of Science Advances content is in physical sciences and engineering; 25% in life sciences; 25% in Earth, environmental, and space sciences; and 5% in social sciences and interdisciplinary research. It is satisfying to see broad representation of research areas in both journals, and such analyses are guiding continued growth to cover areas of strength and to enhance coverage of other areas.

Science Advances has been well received by the scientific community and the public. More than 20% of the papers published in its first 2 years have garnered more than 25 citations. Despite its relatively recent launch, it is ranked among the top multidisciplinary journals based on the distributions of such citation data. Many papers have also received considerable attention in the popular press, including those covering environmental and social sciences. The gold open-access publishing model enhances exposure of the complete papers to the public at the time of publication.

As Science Advances moves into its next phase, Ali Shilatifard transitions from his position as one the founding deputy editors to the position of editor. Dr. Shilatifard is chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. The editorial team has also expanded its deputy editor and associate editor rosters in response to steady growth in the number of submissions. We anticipate increasing the number of papers that are published in Science Advances while maintaining the goal of high quality, speed, and attention to the editorial guidelines and requirements common to the Science family of journals. In so doing, we support AAAS's mission as a global participant in, and advocate for, the communication and use of science to benefit humankind.

Correction (5 July 2018): The time since the first Science Advances papers were published was corrected to three-and-a-half years ago.

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