Royal Society publishing income and expenditure 1880-2010



This spreadsheet contains our most complete series of income/expenditure data for Royal Society publishing, 1880-2010. It shows the income from sales and from grants; the expenditure on printing, distribution and other costs, for the Transactions and for the Proceedings; it provides calculations of surplus/deficit and expense recovery rate (which, given the nature of RS publishing in this period, is a more useful measure than expressing surplus as % of sales income). A variety of graphs are included, some of which appeared in my 2022 article 'From philanthropy to business' Sources of Data: Data for 1880-1899 come from the series of financial ledgers and annual balance sheets in the Royal Society archives. They do not distinguish between costs/income for Transactions or Proceedings From 1900 onwards, the main run of income/expenditure data comes from the published annual accounts of the Royal Society (in the Year Book until 1999; and thereafter in the separately-published Trustees' Report). For certain years, e.g. in the mid-20thC, it has been possible to supplement this with more detailed breakdowns from the archival series. The data available become less detailed over time. Cost breakdowns for paper/printing/illustrations etc are only available up to 1966. Income/expenditure breakdowns by journal (i.e. Proceedings/Transactions/other) are only availble until 2005. Salary and overhead costs are only sometimes available. Inconsistencies There are various inconsistencies to be aware of: 1. The Society changed its accounting year occasionally. This spreadsheet reports the results for whichever accounting year the Society was using at the time, and so users should be aware of moments of transition. Traditionally, the Society's accounting year had ended on its anniversary day (30 November). In 1939, it moved to a year-end of 30 Sept (so, 1939 figures are for an 11-month 'year'). In 1968, it moved to a year-end of 31 Aug (so, 1968 figures are for a 11-month 'year'). In 1991, it adopted a year-end of 31 March (so, 1991 figures are for a 7-month 'year'). And, by c.2004, the Publishing Team was reporting internally by Calendar Year, even though RS officially still kept a March financial year... 2. Decimalisation in 1971 3. Staff/overhead costs were sometimes included in the publication account, and sometimes not. Staff costs WERE included from 1936-55 inclusive; and again from 1980 (though staff costs from mid-1970s can be identified from the archives). After 2000, publishing staff costs were often included in a bigger category of 'trading costs' and can't be separated easily via the 'annual accounts' (but can be identified in JT analysis and ST spreadsheet) Grants Income From 1910 to 1957, the figure reported publicly for publications income included income from grants/donations to support publications, as well as sales income. There had been grants income supporting publications from at least 1895, but there is no consistent source showing this. In this spreadsheet, we have retrospectively created a 'publications income (excluding grants)' figure for 1910-57 to allow a more consistent longue duree comparison (though the 1895-1910 period should still be treated with caution)
Date made available2022
Temporal coverage1880 - 2010

Cite this