The Royal Society which is the worlds oldest publisher has made its entire archive of more than 69,000 articles open and given free access to everyone. For those of you who are wondering what Royal Society is all about, here’s a brief introduction:
Founded in 1660, the ‘Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge’, was granted, two years later, a charter to publish by Charles II. On March 6th, 1655, the first issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society was published under the editorship of Henry Oldenburg, who was also Secretary of the Royal Society at the time. He stipulated that the journal should be ‘licensed by the council of the Society, being first reviewed by some of the members of the same’ and Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society thus became the first ever peer-reviewed journal.
The Royal Society is the world’s oldest scientific publisher and, as such, our archive is the most comprehensive in science. Treasures in the archive include Isaac Newton’s first published scientific paper, geological work by a young Charles Darwin, and Benjamin Franklin’s celebrated account of his electrical kite experiment. Readers willing to delve a little deeper may find some undiscovered gems from the dawn of the scientific revolution – including Robert Boyle’s account of monstrous calves, grisly tales of students being struck by lightning, and early experiments on to how to cool drinks ‘without the Help of Snow, Ice, Haile, Wind or Niter, and That at Any Time of the Year.’
Now anyone with a net connection can read Benjamin Franklin’s account of his kite experiment in his own words or other similar landmark issues and who knows what idea one of these might spark in someone’s mind. After all you never know what might spark an idea and inspire a person to create the next great thing. These issues are an amazing treasure for people interested in the history of science and just reading them gives the reader an idea of how science evolved over the ages.
These journals are available for online browsing or for download as PDF files. However at a quick glance I couldn’t figure out if they allow mirroring of this stuff on other sites or not. I have reached out to them for permission to mirror the content but I don’t know if it will be granted or not. I hope it is, but you never know.