Oldenburg and the art of Scientific Communication


For fifteen years, from 1662 until his death in 1677, Henry Oldenburg served the Royal Society as second Secretary and was charged with almost the entire burden of its correspondence, domestic and foreign. During this time he acted as a centre for the communication of scientific news, searching out new sources of information, encouraging men everywhere to make their work public, acting as an intermediary between scientists and, through the Philosophical Transactions, providing a medium for the publication of short scientific papers. Oldenburg's contribution to scientific communication was unique in the seventeenth century, not least because he represented the Royal Society and served all its members impartially. It is not too much to say that he invented the professions of scientific administrator and scientific journalist

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