Scientific Journal Marks 350

The original cataloging system of the Transactions, with articles bundled into issues and then into volumes, also remains the norm for many journals.Image: American Institute of Physics

The original cataloging system of the Transactions, with articles bundled into issues and then into volumes, also remains the norm for many journals.
Image: American Institute of Physics

Today the scientific community is celebrating the 350th anniversary of the founding of the scientific journal.

The path to the widespread dissemination of scientific research began with Henry Oldenburg – the first secretary of the Royal Society. The publication of the pioneering journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society consisted of a collection of articles submitted by members of the Royal Society – mainly made up of physicians or “natural philosophers”, who would eventually become know as scientists.

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society had many similarities to the modern day scientific journal, including the basic layout and peer-reviewed certification of articles. The journal also focused on the importance of wide dissemination by distributing to those outside its circle.

This flagship journal even marks the beginning of the journal subscription model.

While Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society paved the way scientific journals would be published and distributed for many years, we’ve seen many changes in light of the digital boom.

This from American Institute of Physics:

Even though the essential format of the modern journal remains similar to the original Oldenburg model, the migration of the format from print to the online environment has allowed the format to expand in utility. In particular, the innovation of reference tagging and article linking with attached “digital object identifiers,” pioneered by the CrossRef organization, is a significant boon to identifying and tracking articles.

Read the full article here.

Over the years, ECS has also seen this shift in the dissemination of scientific journals. With our moved toward open access and the introduction of Altmetrics, we hope to help change the way we look at critical scientific knowledge and assist in reinventing the way we disseminate scholarly research.

In celebration of the 350th anniversary of the scientific journal, check out some of our most read open access papers from the Digital Library!


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  1. Rob Gerth

    March 13, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    Got some nice feedback from David Lockwood. He saw this post in our weekly ECS newsletter:

    I was very interested to see the news item below concerning the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society transactions journal. This was because we had a specially invited paper published there in February as part of the celebrations, which for me has been quite an exciting event. Amongst the co-authors are Barry MacDougall, a former ECS President, and Christina Bock, a former ECS Treasurer.

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