1.3 Historical Perspectives of Scholarly Communications

Scholarly communications historically had been driven by the learned societies and their member communities around the world to publish findings of their research inquiries and scientific discoveries. The learned societies were the main promoters and publishers of scholarly journals. The first sets of learned societies were established in different European countries in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries around the periods of European renaissance. These were predominately named as the Royal Societies, as they received patronage from the monarchies and their respective governments. Each learned society launched a periodical for disseminating the results of research of their society members and other scholars. Scholarly periodicals of the learned societies, often called as ‘Transactions’ or ‘Proceedings’, were published at regular intervals to incorporate scholarly works or academic inquiries by their respective member scholars. Many of these members were actively engaged in academic discourses. Their interactions through academic meetings helped in deep understanding and shaping up of contemporary subject fields. These ‘Transactions’ were multi-disciplinary in nature, encouraged scholars in different disciplines to understand each other’s scholarly research outcomes. The presented papers in Society’s academic meetings sometimes incorporated in these ‘Transactions’ for wider circulation amongst the members of a learned society. Text Box 1 depicts the scope of learned societies in India, which is similar to scientific societies in other countries.

Some of the oldest scholarly journals around the world are identified below:

  • The Journal des Sçavans was the earliest academic journal published inEurope. Its first issue was released on 5th January 1665. It was founded byDenis de Sallo, adviser to the Parliament of Paris in France. It is presentlypublished as the Journal des Savants(ISSN: 0021-8103).
  • The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (Phil. Trans.) was thesecond earliest academic journal published in Europe by the Royal Societyof London. Its first issue of the first volume was released on 6thMarch1665. It is presently published in two separate parts, namely, thePhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical,Physical, and Engineering Sciences (ISSN: 1364-503X), and thePhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences(ISSN: 0962-8436).
  • The American Journal of Science (AJS) (ISSN: 0002-9599), founded in1818, was the earliest scientific journal published in the United States. Ithas been published continuously since 1818.
  • The Asiatick Researches, or Transactions of the Society Instituted inBengal, for Inquiring into the History and Antiquities, the Arts, Sciences,and Literature of Asia, was the earliest scholarly journal published in Asiapublished by the Asiatic Society, India. Its first volume was released in1788. It is one of the oldest scholarly journals published from the globalSouth. It is presently published as the Journal of the Asiatic Society(ISSN: 0368-3303).

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