Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

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PNAS was established by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 1914, [note 1] [8] [9] :30 with its first issue published in 1915. The NAS itself had been founded in 1863 as a private institution, but chartered by the United States Congress, with the goal to "investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art".

Prior to the inception of PNAS, the National Academy of Sciences published three volumes of organizational transactions, consisting mostly of minutes of meetings and annual reports. For much of the journal's history, PNAS published brief first announcements of Academy members' and associates' contributions to research. [10] In December 1995, [11] PNAS opened submissions to all authors without first needing to be sponsored by an NAS member.

Members were allowed to communicate up to two papers from non-members to PNAS every year. The review process for these papers was anonymous in that the identities of the referees were not revealed to the authors. Referees were selected by the NAS member. [10] [12] [13] PNAS eliminated communicated submissions through NAS members as of July 1,2010, while continuing to make the final decision on all PNAS papers. [14]

95% of papers are peer reviewed Direct Submissions and 5% are contributed submissions. [15] [16]

American national security concerns

In 2003, PNAS issued an editorial stating its policy on publication of sensitive material in the life sciences. [17] PNAS stated that it would "continue to monitor submitted papers for material that may be deemed inappropriate and that could, if published, compromise the public welfare." This statement was in keeping with the efforts of several other journals. [18] [19] In 2005 PNAS published an article titled "Analyzing a bioterror attack on the food supply: The case of botulinum toxin in milk", [20] despite objections raised by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. [21] The paper was published with a commentary by the president of the Academy at the time, Bruce Alberts, titled "Modeling attacks on the food supply". [22]


The following people have been editors-in-chief of the journal:

The first managing editor of the journal was mathematician Edwin Bidwell Wilson.


  1. The Stankus book reference states 1918 as the year instead of 1914.

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