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Collections overview

Science in the making includes a selection of manuscripts from our archive related to the history of scientific journals at the Royal Society. Explore below to find out more about the selected collections from the people who have contributed to the project. 

Currently, we have digitised the following series in full: Archived Papers, Classified Papers, Early Letters, Letters & PapersPhilosophical Transactions, and the Register Books Originals.

Also available are volumes 1 - 24 of the Proceedings Papers as well as the Referee Reports from 1832 - 1949. 

Science in the Making also showcases the following items from our Manuscripts General collection: MS/165, MS/215, MS/272, MS/279, MS/339, MS/344, MS/348, MS/366, MS/386, MS/421, MS/624, MS/626, MS/703, and MS/704.

To find a specific document or person, use our search tool.

Explore 10 collections

  • Herschel Letters

    Dates: 1807-1875

    This collection of nearly 10,900 letters, drafts, copies and notes is the largest repository of scientific correspondence from and to Sir John Herschel, leading figure of Victorian science.

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  • Early Letters

    Dates: 1613-1740

    The archival collection known as 'Early Letters' is composed of original manuscript letters sent to, or collected by, the Royal Society from English and foreign correspondents.

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  • Classified Papers

    Dates: 1592-1741

    The 'Classified Papers' of the Royal Society are papers from British and international natural philosophers and scholars categorised according to subject areas.

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  • Register Books

    Dates: 1661-1739

    The 'Register Books Originals' contain copies of scientific papers submitted to the Society and considered for publication. The papers were transcribed to establish their precedence for a particular discovery or idea.

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  • Letters and Papers

    Dates: 1741-1806

    'Letters and Papers' contains the scientific correspondence sent to the Royal Society through the 18th century, many of which were published in its journal.

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  • Archived Papers

    Dates: 1768-1989

    The 'Archived Papers' collection is comprised of original manuscript scientific papers and letters submitted to the Royal Society which remained unpublished or were abstracted in the journal 'Proceedings of the Royal Society' published from 1830 onwards.

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  • Philosophical Transactions

    Dates: 1802-1865

    The 'Philosophical Transactions' collection comprises manuscript versions of papers published in The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, the world’s first and longest continuously running journal dedicated to science.

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  • Referee Reports

    Date: 1832-1949

    This collection contains reports on scientific papers submitted for publication to the Royal Society. Started in 1832 when the system was formalised, it is a record of the origins of peer review publishing in practice.

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  • Manuscripts General

    Dates: 1551 - 1951

    Science in the Making presents selected items from the 'Manuscripts General' series, notably astronomical observations, investigations of discrete topics, and indices and registers of papers read before the Royal Society.

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  • Proceedings Papers

    Dates: 1882 - 1894

    The archival collection known as 'Proceedings Papers' is comprised of manuscripts and occasional proofs of scientific papers sent to the Royal Society which were read before meetings of Fellows and printed in full in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.

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