Circulation figures for Royal Society journals c1900-2010



This spreadsheet contains our best data on the actual circulation (including sales, but also, where known, non-commercial distribution, e.g. to fellows, and as gifts/exchanges to learned institutions) From 1955 (when the RS set up its own sales/marketing team) until 1989, the circulation figures were published each year in the Society's YearBook (or, Annual Report, 1980-89). Prior to that, circulation information is only rarely available (as far as we have found so far). After 1990, the Society stopped making its sales/circulation figures public (look at the graph in the second tab, and you'll guess why), but they do survive in internal reports. Tab2 focuses on the Philosophical Transactions and the Proceedings: the earliest data are from 1863, but the series is mostly post-1900. This data was the basis for Figure 3 in my 2022 article 'From philanthropy to business' Tab3 focuses on the so-called 'other publications': the Year Book, Biographical Memoirs, and Notes & Records (data starts 1955) Tab4 includes a snapshot of circulation c.1935. This is the most detailed pre-1955 information. It comes from a document prepared by RS staff in late 1935, to provide information to printers interested in tendering for the RS printing contract. A copy of 'Sales and Distribution of Royal Society Periodicals' survives in the archive of Cambridge University Press, held at Cambridge UL, Pr578
Date made available2022
Temporal coverage1900 - 2000

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