Annual Reviews is a nonprofit publisher dedicated to synthesizing and integrating knowledge for the progress of science and the benefit of society. Annual Review articles hold a unique place in the scholarly communication ecosystem because they transfer expert knowledge synthesized from the exponentially expanding corpus of scientific literature to scholars and society. To create this impactful content, we bring together expert Editorial Committees in each covered discipline and facilitate meetings where members can discuss trends in each field and select relevant topics for review. Authoritative authors are then invited to submit reviews, and they readily accept the challenge to help shape and define their field as a service to scholars and society.
Our crucial role in stimulating discussion about science
Annual Reviews articles:
- Capture current understanding of a topic, including what is well supported and what is controversial;
- Set the work in historical context;
- Highlight the major questions that remain to be addressed and the likely course of research in upcoming years; and
- Outline the practical applications and general significance of research to society.
Who uses Annual Reviews?
- Researchers who want to keep abreast of their field and integrate this information with their own activities;
- Researchers who want an introduction to new fields, with a view to developing an interface between different areas of research;
- Students at all levels who want to gain a thorough understanding of a topic; and
- Business people, journalists, policy makers, practitioners, patients and patient advocates, and others who wish to be informed about developments in research.
Expert content curation
The number of Annual Review journals continues to grow over a broad range of disciplines within the Biomedical, Life, Physical, and Social Sciences, including Economics. The creation of a new title indicates that the amount of original research in a field has reached a critical mass.
These words, published in 1963, are as pertinent today as they were over 50 years ago showing that the challenge of scientific information overload is nothing if not persistent..
In 1930, overwhelmed by the amount of time it would take to read all the relevant literature, J. Murray Luck, then Professor of Chemistry, Stanford University brought his colleagues together to create the firstAnnual Review of Biochemistry(published in 1932).
The genesis of his original idea for Annual Reviews is summed up in this excerpt from Confessions of a Biochemist which Dr. Luck, then Professor of Chemistry Emeritus, Stanford University, wrote in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Annual Reviews.
“In mid 1930, I inquired of about 50 well-known biochemists in the United States and abroad whether an annual volume of critical reviews on the research of the preceding year or two in biochemistry would be a useful addition to the biochemical literature. The volume, of course, would be international in scope and the 30 or so cooperating authors would have, so it was hoped, the necessary expertise to satisfy the expectations of their fellow biochemists the world over. The number of biochemical abstracts published by Chemical Abstracts in 1979 was over 148,000, the increase being attributable to a more comprehensive coverage of the literature, a more expansive definition of the subject, and an enormous increase, worldwide, in the number of research projects being pursued in biochemistry.”
For four decades, Dr. Luck taught biochemistry to Stanford medical students and led advanced courses for graduate students. His specialty was the role of proteins in carcinogenesis. He published more than 200 scientific papers.