Pubs 350 campaign badgeWell, not quite. Technically we’re still 349, but 2015 marks the 350 anniversary of Philosophical Transactions – the world’s first journal dedicated to science.

Our official birthday is March 6 next year, but we’re kicking off months of celebrations starting today with the opening of an exhibition showcasing Philosophical Transactions from its 17 Century origins all the way through to the modern journal it is today. The exhibition is free to attend here at the Royal Society and is open now.

firstphiltransThousands of scientific journals exist today but Philosophical Transactions was the earliest, publishing its first ever issue on March 6 in 1665 under the editorship of Henry Oldenberg. It pioneered the concepts of scientific priority and peer review and provided a permanent and accessible record of communications between scientists. In 1886, as the breadth and scope of scientific discovery rocketed, the journal was divided into two individual publications: Philosophical Transactions A, covering the physical sciences; and Philosophical Transactions B, covering the life sciences. Today, both Transactions publish theme issues on topics ranging from shifting marine ecosystems to the Higgs boson, each of which is guest edited by leading experts in the field.

What else is happening in this remarkable year?

Following the exhibition launch we have an exciting programme of events lined up for the next 12 months:

  • a series of debates on the future developments of scientific scholarly communication
  • a conference on the legacy of Philosophical Transactions and the past, present and future of scientific publishing
  • a series of films exploring how scientific papers have inspired leading scientists
  • special features from all our journals running throughout the year
  • a discussion meeting examining how nature can inspire technological evolution, broadcast live online
  • a special issue of Young Scientists Journal, with whom we are collaborating throughout this anniversary yearJoin us as we celebrate 350 years of scientific publishing.

And finally, to mark the exact anniversary, we are publishing special commemorative issues of Philosophical Transactions A and B, featuring influential papers from the journals’ archive discussed and brought up-to-date by contemporary expert authors. The issues will go online on March 6 2015, exactly 350 years to the day since the first issue of Philosophical Transactions was published.

For more information please visit or contact Stefan Janusz, 350 Anniversary Programme Manager on


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