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Series of record books tracking the papers received by the Royal Society for publication in the Philosophical Transactions or Proceedings of the Royal Society. The ledgers were used consistently from the mid-19th century to the late 20th century to record the circulation of manuscripts, which papers were further submitted to the Committee of Papers, who refereed the papers and subsequently published or not and if the paper was archived.
From 1927, the registers were kept separately for the A and B sides of the journals, reflecting the creation of the specialist sections: the 'A' strand sectional committee examined papers on physical, mathematical and engineering sciences; the 'B' strand sectional committee, examined papers on biological and life sciences.
The registers of papers were one of the most important instruments to ensure the good operation of the publishing of the scientific periodicals at the Royal Society and they include valuable information to track the time it took for papers to be examined and published, as well as providing overall numbers on the number of papers submitted each year (this is often tallied in the records themselves), and the success rate of the submissions. It also fills gaps where we have no referee report for a given submission.
Please note only the records containing information older than 70 years are open to researchers.

Custodial history

Domestic Archive

Reference number
Earliest possible date
Physical description
Paper, bound, size 15 x 10.5 inches
Page extent
20 volumes, MS Large

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Registers of papers, 1853-1989, MS/421, The Royal Society Archives, London,, accessed on 18 June 2024

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This volume contains 8 manuscripts:

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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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