For fifteen years, the online magazine This View of Life (TVOL) has occupied a unique niche in science communication: covering the expansion of Darwinism beyond the biological sciences to include all aspects of humanity. TVOL articles are not peer-reviewed but most of the authors are academic scientists and scholars writing about their work for a more general audience and linking to the peer-review literature. 

Most peer-reviewed articles take a long time to publish and are read by tiny audiences. In contrast, TVOL articles are published quickly, reach much larger audiences, and attract attention to the authors’ peer-reviewed articles. This is why writing for TVOL is an attractive and career-enhancing proposition for its authors. 

The level of discourse is on a par with an intellectual general interest magazine such as Atlantic Monthly, with a similarly broad range of topic coverage, but from a unified theoretical perspective. An Atlantic Monthly reader will encounter articles on science, the arts, and current affairs, but without much help connecting them to each other. For a TVOL reader, these topic areas become integrated in what Charles Darwin called “This View of Life” and famed evolutionary biologist Edward O. Wilson called Consilience.1

Unlike the ephemeral nature of most Internet content, TVOL articles have the same longevity as the peer-reviewed academic literature. They also abide by the same norms of respectful discourse. No name-calling, polarizing language, or blatant falsehoods are allowed. Scholarship and science are all about disagreement, but norms of respectful discourse are required for disagreement to result in constructive outcomes.

Here is something else distinctive about TVOL: It is published under the auspices of a nonprofit organization, ProSocial World,2 whose mission is “to consciously evolve a world that works for all.” This means that TVOL content is not only published but can be promoted and acted upon; for example through online seminars, discussion groups, and implementations in real-world settings. 

Now, after over 1000 articles and 100 podcasts by over 450 contributors from over 50 nations, TVOL is adding the capacity to publish peer-reviewed articles. I am proud to make my own article, titled Williams’ Rule and Its Relevance for Positive Change Efforts one of the first. It is formatted for the ease of online reading and the downloadable pdf is attractively formatted as an academic article. Additional peer-review articles can be found here.

Our new capacity comes at a time when the academic publishing industry is in turmoil. Well-known problems include: 

     • Content made inaccessible behind paywalls 

     • Excessive charges to authors and universities 

     • Lengthy times to publication

     • Lax peer-review processes

     • Lax editorial services

     • No effort to promote content after publication

TVOL strives to address all these problems in its peer review articles: 

     • Our articles will be open-access. 

     • Our charges will be much lower than average and will be transparently related to our production costs. 

     • We strive to publish within a few months of submission. 

     • We have adopted an open peer-review process, which includes making the reviews and author responses available along with the published article. 

     • We offer editorial services to our authors. 

     •  We intend to work with authors to promote the content that they publish.   

In the spirit of equity, we are also offering progressive pricing so that scholars of means in WEIRD countries of the Global North can offer to pay more so that early-career scholars or those from the Global South can pay less or have the fee waived entirely. Based on this combination of benefits, we think that the publishing experience can be much better and the articles can have a much larger impact than for most academic journals, even rivaling and exceeding the most elite journals.

As we begin this adventure, we will be selective about the articles that we consider for publication so that we can succeed at a small scale before graduating to a larger scale. Prospective authors are encouraged to email Managing Editor Eric Michael Johnson [link] to discuss possibilities, including preliminary ideas for articles or to send abstracts of finished manuscripts.

Scholarship and science are forms of cultural evolution that must be structured in the right way to achieve the collective goal of knowledge creation. We look forward to using the best of our current knowledge about cultural evolution to provide the necessary structure. 


1. Wilson, E.O. (1998). Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge. Vintage.

2. ProSocial World is an amicable spinoff of another nonprofit organization, the Evolution Institute, that founded TVOL.