American Society of Naturalists

A membership society whose goal is to advance and to diffuse knowledge of organic evolution and other broad biological principles so as to enhance the conceptual unification of the biological sciences.

Joint Statement on Scientific Publishing

Posted on by Maria Servedio

As of 28th August 2023, the following statement is co-signed by six scientific societies. It also is under consideration by others. If your society wishes to sign on to the original statement or a version thereof, please contact Dr. Michael N. Dawson at

Joint Statement on Scientific Publishing (28th August 2023)

Scientific publishing has undergone many changes in its ~350-year history. As scientific societies and their members have contributed as authors, reviewers, and editors of publications throughout this time period, we have vested interest in scientific publishing. Our goals as scientific societies are to:

  • promote high-quality peer-reviewed scientific publications
  • broaden participation in scientific research by increasing access to scientific publications
  • encourage membership in scientific societies

Our intent is to meet these goals through society activities and society journals. It is with concern, then, that we observe the forces at work in modern for-profit scientific publishing houses that run contrary to the values of our societies and communities. Particularly, we are concerned about:

  • publishing practices that exploit academic researchers, especially those from vulnerable groups who have limited resources and/or are under heightened pressure to publish or perish
  • the expectation that professional scientists should contribute free labor as editors and reviewers to massively profitable corporations
  • article processing fees that far exceed the costs of production and have increased well above inflationary rates
  • Institutional subscriptions that now constitute the majority of acquisition budgets at university libraries

We have therefore chosen to issue this joint statement to reify our shared positions and to raise awareness among our members of actions that professional societies can take to work towards a more equitable publishing ecosystem. Specifically we aspire to:

  • produce society journals by collaborating with publishers who share our values
  • support access to society-published research via globally affordable Open Access licensing
  • make society memberships available on sliding scales to lower barriers to participation
  • work with institutional libraries to effect change in the publishing ecosystem
  • ensure society members are aware of choices they can make to support a more accessible, affordable, and equitable publishing environment.

As individual scientists, we can take the following actions to work towards a more equitable publishing ecosystem:

  • be intentional regarding your participation in the publishing ecosystem
  • contribute your expertise as a reviewer or editor to journals that are affiliated with scientific societies
  • choose to publish your work in society journals
  • mentor young scientists to increase awareness about issues related to scientific publishing

We intend to continue the important work we have been doing in these areas, and also are increasingly considering new actions and broader coalitions that may be necessary to maintain the integrity of scientific publishing for our members for the future.

– José María Fernández-Palacios, President, on behalf of the Society of Island Biology
– Felipe P.L. Melo, President, on behalf of the Associação Brasileira de Ciência Ecológica e Conservação – ABECO
– Maria Servedio, President, on behalf of the American Society of Naturalists
– Felisa A. Smith, President, on behalf of the International Biogeography Society

Versions of this statement are also endorsed by:

– Lorenzo Peruzzi, President, on behalf of Italian Society of Biogeography
– Krystal A. Tolley, Chairman, on behalf of the Herpetological Association of Africa