Today we can not imagine the world of science without scientific journals. Starting with two - Journal des Sçavans and Philosophical Transactions in 1665, today we have tens of thousands of scientific journals with more than 2 million publications annually. Let's take a look at those two pioneers and their history.
Journal des Sçavans
Everything started with a twelve-page quarto pamphlet on a snowy Monday - January 5th, 1665. Denis Sallo published the first issue of Journal des Sçavans. This was a revolutionary publication. It was the first one directed to the people of science in Europe. Already in the first issue, Sallo explained his goal - to inform the readers about:
- Latest discoveries and experiments in the world of science.
- New books published in Europe (including a short description of the content).
- Dead of famous people and their works.
- Religious and secular legal reports.
For almost 130 years, until 1792, when the journal ceased its existence during the French revolution, this was one of the main sources of science for the french-speaking part of Europe.
Image credit: Wikipedia
For a short period, in 1797 the journal appeared again but with a new name - Journal des Savants - although the regular publication didn't start again until 1816. Journal des Savants still exists today and is published by the French Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres. Nowadays, it is slightly more oriented towards the literary than the scientific and since 2014 is available online at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France Gallica digital library.
Image credit: Wikipedia
In 1662 The Royal Society was established. A few years later, the first Secretary of the society - Henry Oldenburg - decided, at his own expense and probably including an agreement with the rest of the society to keep the eventual profit, to start publishing the scientific news that he was anyway disseminating among the members of the society. On March 6th, 1665 the first issue of what is now known as Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society came into existence. This was the first monthly journal dedicated exclusively to science.
In 1752 finally, The Royal Society took over the journal after a small crisis. The publication rhythm got slower and the society appointed a 21-person editorial committee that would select the papers to be published.
In 1887 the Philosophical Transactions split into two series: A - dealing with physical sciences and B - dealing with biological sciences.
The Transactions were published at a loss up until the end of WWII when, for the first time, they started steadily bringing profit. In 2017, original copies of all our journals from 1665 to 1996 were digitized to create the Royal Society Journal Collection: Science in the Making. Today, it is still considered one of the most prestigious and important scientific publications. Throughout the years, scientists such as Sir. Issac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Charles Darwin, Alan Turing, and Stephen Hawking had their research published in the journal.
We wish both journals to never stop publishing their exciting and valuable works!
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