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dc.contributor.authorFyfe, Aileen
dc.identifier.citationFyfe , A 2022 , ' Self-help for learned journals : scientific societies and the commerce of publishing in the 1950s ' , History of Science , vol. 60 , no. 2 , pp. 255-279 .
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 272862667
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: f3ed5c39-ca81-4105-9e7b-3d2474d9e2e2
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0002-6794-4140/work/91341144
dc.identifier.otherScopus: 85102757589
dc.identifier.otherWOS: 000630797300001
dc.descriptionThe author disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: AHRC grant AH/K001841/1.en
dc.description.abstractIn the decades after the Second World War, learned society publishers struggled to cope with the expanding output of scientific research and the increased involvement of commercial publishers in the business of publishing research journals. Could learned society journals survive economically in the postwar world, against this competition? Or was the emergence of a sales-based commercial model of publishing – in contrast to the traditional model of subsidized journal publishing – an opportunity to transform the often-fragile finances of learned societies? But there was also an existential threat: if commercial firms could successfully publish scientific journals, were learned society publishers no longer needed? This paper investigates how British learned society publishers adjusted to the new economic realities of the postwar world, through an investigation of the activities organized by the Royal Society of London and the Nuffield Foundation, culminating in the 1963 report Self-Help for Learned Journals. It reveals the postwar decades as the time when scientific research became something to be commodified and sold to libraries, rather than circulated as part of a scholarly mission. It will be essential reading for all those campaigning to transition academic publishing – including learned society publishing – away from the sales-based model once again
dc.relation.ispartofHistory of Scienceen
dc.rightsCopyright © The Author(s) 2021. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
dc.subjectAcademic publishingen
dc.subjectScientific journalsen
dc.subjectTwentieth-century Britainen
dc.subjectOpen accessen
dc.subjectScientific societiesen
dc.subjectScholarly communicationen
dc.subjectD204 Modern Historyen
dc.subjectZ665 Library Science. Information Scienceen
dc.subjectZA4050 Electronic information resourcesen
dc.titleSelf-help for learned journals : scientific societies and the commerce of publishing in the 1950sen
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.contributor.sponsorArts and Humanities Research Councilen
dc.description.versionPublisher PDFen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. St Andrews Institute of Intellectual Historyen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. School of Historyen
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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