About Philosophical Transactions A

  1. Aims and Scope

  2. DOIs

  3. Abstracting and Indexing

  4. History of the journal

  5. Frequently asked questions

Aims and Scope

Continuing its long history of influential scientific publishing, Philosophical Transactions A publishes high quality theme issues on topics of current importance and general interest within the physical, mathematical and engineering sciences, guest-edited by leading authorities and comprising new research, reviews and opinions from prominent researchers. Each issue aims to create an original and authoritative synthesis, often bridging traditional disciplines, which showcases current developments and provides a foundation for future research, applications and policy decisions.

Issues are either based on the internationally acclaimed Royal Society Discussion Meetings (royalsociety.org/events) or are stand-alone topics commissioned by the journal or proposed by the guest editors. All contributions are invited and the journal does not accept unsolicited stand-alone papers. All articles are peer reviewed and edited to the highest standards.



DOI stands for Digital Object Identifier. The DOI is a unique, permanent code assigned any digital item such as a journal article. Since 1999, each article published in Royal Society journals has been assigned a unique DOI. The DOI is used by many of the major science publishers and has become an industry standard. Each DOI is assigned and maintained in a central registry managed by the International DOI Foundation. Utilising a DOI, a referenced article can be electronically located - the DOI is resolved to find the current URL of the item.


Abstracting and Indexing

Philosophical Transactions A is indexed in EBSCO, GEOREF, Infotrieve, ISI, MathSciNet, Ovid , PubMed, scirus, Scopus, SWETS , TDNet , TicToCs and Zentralblatt MATH


History of the journal

original cover

The Royal Society was founded in 1660 to promote the new experimental philosophy of that time, embodying the principles of Sir Francis Bacon. Henry Oldenburg was appointed as the first (joint) secretary to the Society and he was also the first editor of the Society's journal Philosophical Transactions. The first issue of Philosophical Transactions appeared in March 1665 and featured Oldenburg’s correspondence with leading European scientists. In its formative years Isaac Newton had seventeen papers published in the journal including his first paper - New Theory about Light and Colours - which effectively served to launch his scientific career in 1672. In the same year his new reflecting telescope was described and the original drawing was also published in the journal. Philosophical Transactions has also published the work of Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday, William Herschel and many more celebrated names in science.

In 1887 the journal expanded to become two separate publications, one serving the biological sciences and the other serving the physical sciences.

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society has the prestige of being the world’s first scientific journal.

More information on the history of Philosophical Transactions