The overall scope of this book is scientific publishing from 1900, but 1900 is a somewhat arbitrary date in the history of academic publishing which, for the most part from 1900 to 1940 was a continuation of that in earlier times. There were substantial changes from about 1850 and then after 1950, so that it is natural to consider the hundred years between those dates as a whole. There were considerable advances in physics in 1900, which also influenced chemistry, and they had consequences in publishing, but the journals founded before 1900 continued into the new century and relatively few new ones appeared after 1900. The procedures and economics of academic publishing up to 1950 also remained much as they had been for almost two centuries. Thus something must be said about the development of academic publishing in science from the end of the seventeenth century onwards in order to understand its nature in the first half of the twentieth. That is the plan of this chapter.
The physical sciences underwent greater developments and were generally more advanced by 1900 than were the biological sciences, and that is reflected in the greater prominence given to the physical journals in this essay. Most attention is also given to publishing in English, not because that in other languages was negligble but because it was on the whole parallel, and the account of English language publishing covers most of the issues that arose in other languages.
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