Commercial scientific journals and their editors in Edinburgh, 1819-1832

Bill Jenkins*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This paper explores the editorial policies and practices of three scientific journal published in Edinburgh in the first half of the 19th century. The first of these was the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal (1819–1826), and its continuation as the Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal (1826–1854). It was edited until 1824 by Robert Jameson, Edinburgh's professor of natural history, and David Brewster, who was a natural philosopher, scientific writer, and editor. Brewster left in 1824 to found his own journal, the Edinburgh Journal of Science (1824–1832). The third journal published in Edinburgh in this period was the Edinburgh Journal of Natural and Geographical Science (1829–1831), edited by Henry H. Cheek and William Ainsworth, two medical students at the University of Edinburgh. All three journals were direct competitors, being strikingly similar in form and content. As well as competing with Jameson's journal for readers and authors, Cheek and Ainsworth also used their journal to directly attack him in print. This paper sheds new light on the ways the editorship of these journals was used not only to consolidate and extend circles of patronage in early 19th‐century science, but also to challenge existing centres of authority.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
VolumeEarly View
Early online date5 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 May 2020


  • David Brewster
  • Editorship
  • Henry H .Cheek
  • Robert Jameson
  • Scientific journals


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