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November 8, 1965


JAMA. 1965;194(6):664. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090190086022

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Science journalism observes a significant anniversary in 1965. Three hundred years ago, two important events took place. On Jan 5, 1665, the Journal des Sçavans first appeared in Paris and two months later, March 6, the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London was first published. These events were not, of course, as important to the journalism of science as the invention of printing, or even as the contributions of Thomas Wakley and his spirited journal, the Lancet, in the 19th century; nevertheless the two publications deserve to be remembered, for they inaugurated a totally new concept in communication.

The Journal des Sçavans, a weekly publication, contained abstracts and reviews of contemporary European books, both scientific and literary, particularly in the fields of chemistry, physics, and anatomy. An abstracting journal of this type seems to have arisen as a logical amalgam of two other forms of communication. One was

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