Who owns Annals of Botany and AoB PLANTS?

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Guest post by Rod Hunt

Most science journals these days are owned either by a major publisher or by a learned society. Oxford University Press publishes Annals of Botany and AoB PLANTS, but does this august institution also own these two titles? No it does not. Maybe there is an ‘Annals of Botany Society’ holding all the reins? Wrong again – there is no such society that you can join.

The actual owners are the ‘Annals of Botany Company‘, a small group of independent incorruptibles which has largely remained in the shadows for well over a century. The existence of the company was not even recognized within the covers of Annals of Botany until 1975. If you knew where to look, for example in the records of the UK’s Companies House, you could always get the lowdown on these Illuminati, but most readers and writers remained oblivious of the journals’ ultimate owners and decision-makers.

But now all that has changed. Both journals, and this blog, now carry the logo of the parent Annals of Botany Company, a splendid seal that thrusts its founding date proudly into out the world. More than that, clicking onto the logo will bring you to the brand new website of the Company itself. There you will see all its essential features; its mission, its membership, its activities, its recent achievements, its financial results, and something on its long history.

Because the Company owns its three titles outright it is free to appoint its own Chief Editors, Editorial Office staff, Editorial Boards and reviewers, and it also selects its journals’ publisher(s). Thanks to its ‘not for profit’ constitution, it can also increase the general benefit of these titles by supporting them financially from its investments.

Writing for Annals of Botany, AoB PLANTS or AoBBlog connects you back to the grandest of founding fathers, deep in the Victorian era. One of these was Charles Darwin’s son. The journals that directly or indirectly have their origins in these distant times today offer everything that is expected of leading 21st century publications, but their founders’ values still resonate strongly through their prompt and courteous service to authors and their close attention to quality and detail.

Rod Hunt is Treasurer of the Annals of Botany Company, former Chief Editor of the Annals of Botany and Treasurer of the European Association of Science Editors. When he isn’t hard at work in Plant Science or Ecology, his Bass solos can be heard in operas around the UK.


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