Articles submitted for publication to the Royal Society were not automatically accepted. The articles were read out to a meeting or evaluated by selected Fellows. Today when an article is rejected, it is sent back to its author, but for a large period of time, the Royal Society kept some of the articles it did not publish. Some of them were published in other scientific journals and went on to have a profound impact on science. Today pre-print repositories are becoming essential tools for scientists to make their research known as quickly as possible while still acknowledging the importance of the peer-review process offered by scientific publications.
Read more about the secret history of the scientific journal, thanks to research lead at St Andrews University on the Royal Society journals.