Skip to main content Accessibility help

How lives became lists and scientific papers became data: cataloguing authorship during the nineteenth century

  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.


The Catalogue of Scientific Papers, published by the Royal Society of London beginning in 1867, projected back to the beginning of the nineteenth century a novel vision of the history of science in which knowledge was built up out of discrete papers each connected to an author. Its construction was an act of canon formation that helped naturalize the idea that scientific publishing consisted of special kinds of texts and authors that were set apart from the wider landscape of publishing. By recovering the decisions and struggles through which the Catalogue was assembled, this essay aims to contribute to current efforts to denaturalize the scientific paper as the dominant genre of scientific life. By privileging a specific representation of the course of a scientific life as a list of papers, the Catalogue helped shape underlying assumptions about the most valuable fruits of a scientific career. Its enumerated lists of authors’ periodical publications were quickly put to use as a means of measuring scientific productivity and reputation, as well as by writers of biography and history. Although it was first conceived as a search technology, this essay locates the Catalogue’s most consequential legacy in its uses as a technology of valuation.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      How lives became lists and scientific papers became data: cataloguing authorship during the nineteenth century
      Available formats

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      How lives became lists and scientific papers became data: cataloguing authorship during the nineteenth century
      Available formats

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      How lives became lists and scientific papers became data: cataloguing authorship during the nineteenth century
      Available formats



Hide All

1 Manchester Times, 16 January 1869, p. 24.

2 Autobiography of a physiologist’, Quarterly Review (1867) 122, pp. 335347, 343.

3 Lyell to Darwin, 15 March 1863, in Burkhardt, Frederick et al. (eds.), The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999, p. 231 .

4 ‘Autobiography of a physiologist’, op. cit. (2), p. 343.

5 The government undertook the costs of printing the first volumes, but the Royal Society funded all other labour and materials costs.

6 Secord, James, ‘Science, technology and mathematics’, in McKitterick, David (ed.), The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, vol. 6: 1830–1914, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009, pp. 443474, 459.

7 I use the term ‘canon formation’ in analogy to its use in literary history to refer to genres and texts which achieve cultural prestige through inclusion in a select list. See, for example, Guillory, John, Cultural Capital: The Problem of Literary Canon Formation, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1993 ; and Kramnick, Jonathan Brody, Making the English Canon: Print-Capitalism and the Cultural Past, 1700–1770, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998 .

8 Bowker, Geoffrey C., ‘Emerging configurations of knowledge expression’, in Gillespie, Tarleton, Boczkowski, Pablo J. and Foot, Kirsten A. (eds.), Media Technologies: Essays on Communication, Materiality, and Society, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2014, pp. 99118 ; Kelty, Christopher, ‘This is not an article: model organism newsletters and the question of “open science”’, Biosocieties (2012) 7, pp. 140168 ; Csiszar, Alex, ‘Seriality and the search for order: scientific print and its problems during the late nineteenth century’, History of Science (2010) 48, pp. 399434 ; Secord, op. cit. (6). To be clear, I understand ‘work’ primarily as the work to construct the administrative and conceptual scaffolding that made such a catalogue possible. Hannah Gay has recently produced something closer to a labour history of the Catalogue’s fourth series, with a focus on the individuals who participated in its day-to-day construction: A questionable project: Herbert McLeod and the making of the fourth series of the Royal Society Catalogue of Scientific Papers, 1901–25’, Annals of Science (2013) 70, pp. 149174 .

9 See, for example. the essays in Rayward, W.B. and Bowden, M.E. (eds.), The History and Heritage of Scientific and Technological Information Systems, Medford, NJ: Information Today, 2004 .

10 For recent instances of this phenomenon see Becker, Konrad and Stalder, Felix (eds.), Deep Search: The Politics of Search beyond Google, Innsbruck: Studien Verlag, 2009 ; and Archambault, Eric and Larivière, Vincent, ‘History of the journal impact factor: contingencies and consequences’, Scientometrics (2009) 79, pp. 635649 .

11 See the essays in ‘Listmania’, a Focus section of Isis edited by James Delbourgo and Staffan Müller-Wille (December 2012) 103, pp. 710–752. Quotation from Staffan Müller-Wille and Isabelle Charmantier, ‘Lists as research technologies’, ibid., pp. 743–752, 743. See also Keller, Vera, Knowledge and the Public Interest, 1575–1725, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015 .

12 On the Zoological Nomenclature Committee see McOuat, Gordon, ‘Species, rules and meaning: the politics of language and the ends of definitions in 19th century natural history’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science (1996) 21, pp. 473519 . Whether dates of printing trumped date of reading remained a point of controversy for decades. For example, in 1867, George Bentham, then president of the Linnean Society, denied the admissibility of public reading, because it does not give fixity; the author himself … may alter his names before or during the printing’. Address of the President, Linnean Society, London, Taylor & Francis, 1867, p. 78 . On the discovery of Neptune see Smith, Robert W., ‘The Cambridge network in action: the discovery of Neptune’, Isis (1989) 80, pp. 395422 .

13 Delbourgo, James, ‘Listing people’, Isis (2012) 103, pp. 735742, 736. On other genres of lists of people see Chappey, Jean-Luc, Ordres et désordres biographiques: Dictionnaires, listes de noms, réputation des Lumières à Wikipédia, Seyssel: Champ Vallon, 2013 .

14 Other examples include the Index Kewensis project (Kew Gardens, 1881–) and the Carte du ciel Commission (1887–).

15 For a celebratory definition of datafication, the process by which aspects of the world are transformed into data, see Mayer-Schönberger, Viktor and Cukier, Kenneth, Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think, London: John Murray, 2013 . On current algorithms for the management of reputations and relevance see Tarleton Gillespie, ‘The relevance of algorithms’, in Gillespie, Boczkowski and Foot, op. cit. (8), pp. 167–193.

16 On the first failed attempt to build the subject index see Rayward, W. Boyd, ‘The search for subject access to the Catalogue of Scientific Papers, 1800–1900’, in Rayward (ed.), The Variety of Librarianship, Sydney: Library Association of Australia, 1976, pp. 146170 .

17 Hunt, E.B., ‘On an index of papers on subjects of mathematics and physical science’, American Journal of Science (1855) 20, pp. 344348, 347; Poole, William Frederick, An Index to Periodical Literature, New York: Charles B. Norton, 1853 .

18 On this and more on the American prehistory of the Catalogue see Beaver, Donald deB., ‘The Smithsonian origin of the Royal Society Catalogue of Scientific Papers ’, Science Studies (1972) 2, pp. 385393 .

19 Hunt, op. cit. (17), p. 348.

20 Beaver, op. cit. (18), pp. 390–391; Report of the … Meeting of the British Association for … 1855, London: John Murray, 1856, p. lxvi.

21 Report of the … Meeting of the British Association for … 1856, London: John Murray, 1857, pp. 463464 .

22 J.D. Forbes, ‘Catalogue of philosophical memoirs’, Athenaeum, 20 September 1856, pp. 1166–1167; William Thomson to Forbes, 6 October 1856, James D. Forbes Papers, University of St Andrews (hereafter JDF), 1/2693.

23 Topham, Jonathan R., ‘Anthologizing the book of nature: the circulation of knowledge and the origins of the scientific journal in late Georgian Britain’, in Lightman, Bernard, McOuat, Gordon and Stewart, Larry (eds.), The Circulation of Knowledge between Britain, India, and China, Boston: Brill, 2013, pp. 119152 .

24 A word on terminology: in its strict sense, the word ‘transactions’ referred to the collections of memoirs published by learned societies that were modelled on the Philosophical Transactions post-1752 (when the Royal Society took over the publication and overhauled it on the model of the collections of memoirs published by the French Academy of Sciences). Although this was a specifically British format, the term was often used by English-speaking actors to refer to memoir series published by Continental societies as well. Unless indicated otherwise, this broader meaning is the one I use in this essay. For similar reasons, by ‘proceedings’ I am grouping together a variety of publications that arose beginning in the 1820s and 1830s and which were also called Monthly Notices, Comptes rendus, Bericht, Bulletin, or Notizblatt, inter alia. These were modelled on commercial journals and often were printed in a smaller or cheaper format than transactions, appeared more frequently, and tended to contain shorter papers or abstracts.

25 W.H. Miller (circular to scientific societies), January 1864, MM/14/183.

26 For a survey of the early history of bibliographies see Balsamo, Luigi, Bibliography: History of a Tradition (Berkeley, CA: Bernard M. Rosenthal, 1984). For the natural sciences see Brock, W.H., ‘Scientific bibliographies and bibliographers, and the history of the history of science’, in Hunter, Andrew (ed.), Thornton and Tully's Scientific Books, Libraries, and Collectors, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000, pp. 298332 . For a recent account see Blair, Ann, Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010 .

27 Chartier, Roger, The Order of Books: Readers, Authors and Libraries in Europe between the Fourteenth and Eighteenth Centuries, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994, pp. 6188 .

28 Bibliotheca Universalis, sive Catalogus omnium scriptorum locupletissimus, in tribus linguis, Latina, Graeca, et Hebraica (1545–1549) was organized by author, but a second part, the Pandectarum sive Partitionum universalium Conradi Gesneri (1548), never completed, was organized according to topic entries. See Balsamo, op. cit. (26), pp. 37–42.

29 Nelles, Paul Neave, ‘The library as an instrument of discovery: Gabriel Naude and the uses of history’, in Kelley, Donald R. (ed.), History and the Disciplines, Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 1997, pp. 4157 .

30 The grandest such effort was the massive Collection académique, published between 1755 and 1779. These volumes contained a selective compilation (including translations) of works in the publications of European learned societies.

31 Johns, Adrian, The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1998, pp. 516621 .

32 Denis Diderot, ‘Encyclopédie’ [1755], reprinted in Assézat, J. (ed.), Oeuvres complètes de Diderot, vol. 14, Paris: Garnier frères, 1875–1877, pp. 414503, 420. (All translations from French and German are my own.)

33 Darwin comments on its format in his ‘Books to be read’ notebook (1838–1851), noting its availability at the Royal Society. See Burkhardt, Frederick et al. (eds.), The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989, p. 447 .

34 There were also, for example, Jahresberichte for medicine (Erlangen, 1841–), physiological botany (Berlin, 1838), and chemical technology (Leipzig, 1855–).

35 The recurrent financial problems engendered by the Comptes rendus are documented in the minutes of the Académie's Commission administrative: Registre de procès-verbaux, 1829–1877, Archives de l'Académie des sciences, Paris. See also Crosland, Maurice, Science under Control: The French Academy of Sciences, 1795–1914, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992, pp. 279299 .

36 On the abandoned 1848 plan for major London societies to band together to publish a collective comptes rendus to rival Paris see Bonney, T.G., Annals of the Philosophical Club of the Royal Society, London: Macmillan, 1919, pp. 2738 .

37 Royal Society Council Minutes, 5 March 1857, in Council Minutes Printed, Vol. 2, Royal Society of London (subsequently CMRS).

38 ‘Report to the Council from the Library Committee’, read 14 January 1858, CMRS.

39 ‘Preliminary report of the committee appointed March 5, 1857, to consider the formation of a Catalogue of Philosophical Memoirs’, read 18 June 1857, CMRS.

40 Babbage to John William Lubbock, 23 December 1831, John William Lubbock Papers, Royal Society of London, JWL/3.

41 ‘Report to the Council from the Library Committee’, op. cit. (38).

42 The next major step in this evolution was the International Catalogue of Scientific Literature, a project that the society launched in 1895. At the time, some were calling for the Royal Society to get out of the journal publishing business altogether. See Csiszar, op. cit. (8).

43 The day-to-day decisions regarding the Catalogue’s construction are detailed in the Minutes of the Library and Catalogue Committee, 17 June 1858–1 June 1875, Committee Minute Book 47C (hereafter MLCC) and Miscellaneous Manuscripts 14 (hereafter MM), both at the Royal Society of London. See also Hall, Marie Boas, The Library and Archives of the Royal Society, London: Royal Society, 1992 .

44 MLCC, 17 June 1858; Sabine, Edward, ‘Anniversary address, 1 December 1862’, Proceedings of the Royal Society (1863) 12, p. 286 . For details on the progressive hiring of indexers see MLCC, passim. As the cataloguing work went on over the next half-century, this indexing workforce gradually expanded and it also changed its character in key ways. Eventually, much of the indexing and clerical work was done by a staff of women, and for a period it was a woman, Evelyn Chambers, who was effectively directing the project. For details on the later workforce see Gay, op. cit. (8).

45 MLCC, 29 January 1864.

46 Anniversary meeting’, Proceedings of the Royal Society (1865), 14, p. 483 .

47 Edward Sabine reported to William Sharpey that a report ‘misapprehending our object dwelt much on the impossibility of a catalogue which should include all periodical literature (newspapers amongst other classes of information)’. Letter dated 7 November 1864, MM/19/39, underlining in original.

48 ‘Preface’, Catalogue of Scientific Papers, vol. 1, London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1867, p. iv.

49 ‘Report of the Committee to consider the formation of a Catalogue of Philosophical Memoirs’, CMRS, 11 June 1857.

50 Strickland, H.E., ‘Preface’, in Bibliographia Zoologiae et Geologiae, vol. 1, London: Ray Society, 1848, p. ix.

51 ‘Preliminary Report’, op. cit. (39); ‘Report to the Council’, op. cit. (38).

52 Some that were explicitly rejected in this process were Paxton's Horticultural Register and Férussac's Bulletin. It seems that the verdict in the latter case was reversed at some point, however, as it appears over five hundred times in the first series.

53 Preliminary list of journals, MM/14/184. Of those listed, 20 per cent were published in Britain and Ireland; 24 per cent in German states, and 21 per cent in France. These figures are relatively meaningless, however, since many periodicals on the list were short-lived. For example, weighting each periodical in the list by the span of years indexed in the Catalogue puts France ahead of Germany.

54 The responses to the circular are preserved in MM/14/184 ff. Haidinger's response is dated 3 April 1864 (MM/14/217); and Henry's is dated 23 March 1864 (MM/14/199). Poggendorff's response is summarized by William H. Miller in a note written on 6 May 1864 (MM/14/202).

55 Miller, op. cit. (25).

56 Perkins, Jacob, ‘Description of Mr. Perkins’ new steam-boiler’, Magazine of Popular Science (1836) 1, pp. 4855 , appeared in the Catalogue as ‘Ueber die Vortheile des neuen nach dem Circulations-Principe gebauten Dampfkessels’, and a series of letters from William Lassell on ‘Casting and grinding specula’ from the Mechanics Magazine in 1837 appeared as ‘Ueber das Giessen und Schleifen von Spiegeln für Teleskope’.

57 Iain Watts, ‘“Current” events: galvanism and the world of scientific information, 1790–1830’, unpublished PhD dissertation, Princeton University, 2015. On copying networks of newspapers see Slauter, Will, ‘The paragraph as information technology: how news traveled in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world’, Annales : Histoire, sciences sociales (2012) 67, pp. 253278 .

58 Similarity was interpreted liberally at times. For example, alongside the famous fragment in the Linnean Society's Proceedings corresponding to Charles Darwin's species theory in 1858 was listed a German translation of Chapter 10 of the Origin of Species that appeared in the Zeitschrift für die gesammten Naturwissenschaften in 1860.

59 De Morgan, Augustus, ‘Libraries and catalogues’, Quarterly Review (1843) 72, pp. 125, 1415 .

60 Ibid., pp. 8–13.

61 The end of Volume 6 contains 1,398 anonymous entries (those for which the cataloguers were able to ascertain the author also appear under that author's list). These are distributed about evenly over the years 1800–1863, but because the number of entries in the Catalogue doubles about every two decades, this represents a significant proportional reduction over time.

62 ‘Preface’, op. cit. (48), p. ix.

63 ‘Preface’, op. cit. (48), p. ix.

64 Of seventy-four publications listed under Young's name, thirty-nine were originally published anonymously or using a variety of initials.

65 Irénée-Jules Bienaymé, Rectification de listes d'articles détachés de M. Cauchy, publiées dans deux Catalogues différents, et restitution à M. Cournot de quelques-uns de ces articles’, Comptes rendus hebdomadaires (1871) 72, pp. 2529 .

66 LCCM, 28 January 1869.

67 Roderick Murchison to H.E. Strickland, July 1852, H.E. Strickland Papers, University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge, E1110; CD to H.E. Strickland, 29 January 1849, H.E. Strickland Papers, N168.

68 G.D. Campbell to White, 13 April 1876, Royal Society of London, MS/769; Brewster's responses were sent 27 May and 5 June 1867, Royal Society of London, MC/8.

69 Herschel and Forbes requested copies of proofs. See Herschel to Royal Society, 1 March 1869, MM/14/217; and W. White to J.D. Forbes, 13 July 1868, JDF/1/4686.

70 White to Forbes, op. cit. (69); Herschel to Royal Society, op. cit. (69), underlining in original.

71 Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, Cabinet Edition of the Encyclopaedia Metropolitana: Prospectus, London: Griffin & Company, 1849, p. 7 .

72 Herschel to Royal Society, op. cit. (69).

73 Marcellin Berthelot to RS, 19 December 1889, Royal Society of London, MS/539.

74 Babbage, Charles, Reflections on the Decline of Science in England and on Some of Its Causes, London: B. Fellowes, 1830, pp. 154156 . Michael Faraday refused to sign election certificates except of those who had published in the Transactions. See Faraday to James Sheridan Muspratt, 8 May 1846, in James, Frank A.J.L. (ed.), The Correspondence of Michael Faraday, vol. 3, London: Institution of Electrical Engineers, 1996, p. 510 . Bonney, T.G., Annals of the Philosophical Club of the Royal Society, London: Macmillan, 1919, p. 1 .

75 The first instance of an explicit mention of a commercial journal in these certificates that I have identified is in 1835 (to the Philosophical Magazine, by Jon Hamett), but there are only about twenty such mentions through 1849. These and subsequent observations on the election certificates are based on those, mostly of successful candidates, archived and transcribed by the Royal Society of London under the call mark EC.

76 Herschel's lists, or transcriptions of them, are preserved at the Harry Ransom Center (Austin, TX), Herschel Papers, 21/1–7. For a subject classified list see 21/1 (a transcription); for a list organized by publication venue, 21/1; and chronological, 21/6.

77 Smyth, William Henry, Synopsis of the Published and Privately-Printed Works by Admiral W.H. Smyth, London: John Boyer Nichols and Sons, 1864 .

78 See Crosland, Maurice, ‘Scientific credentials: record of publications in the assessment of qualifications for election to the French Académie des Sciences’, Minerva (1981) 19, pp. 605631 .

79 For a discussion of national differences in credentialing genres see Annales d'hygiène publique et de médecine légale (1900) 44, pp. 198199 .

80 ‘Preface’, op. cit. (48), p. ix.

81 William Gladstone, Chancellor of the Exchequer, recommended that the Treasury approve the project on 28 November 1864. In doing so, they cited the ‘the importance of the work, with reference to the promotion of scientific knowledge generally’, but also that they expected the volumes to be sold at a price that ‘will repay the cost of printing’. See copy of Treasury minute pasted into MLCC, 23 December 1864.

82 MLCC, 23 December 1864; 24 January 1868. Volume 1 was put on sale for twenty shillings (cloth binding) and twenty-eight shillings (Morocco binding).

83 For example, Catalogue des brochures scientifiques’, Les Mondes (1868), 17, p. 410 ; Catalogue de mémoires scientifiques’, Revue des cours scientifiques de la France et de l’étranger (1868), 5, pp. 487488 .

84 ‘Societies,’ Athenaeum, 20 November 1869, p. 667.

85 ‘The month: science and arts’, Chambers's Journal, 28 December 1867, p. 830.

86 ‘Catalogue of scientific papers’, Athenaeum, 6 June 1868, pp. 790–791.

87 ‘Catalogue of scientific papers’, op. cit. (86), 791.

88 ‘Catalogue of scientific papers’, op. cit. (86), 791, original emphasis.

89 Letter to editor (signed F.R.S.), Athenaeum, 16 January 1869, pp. 99–100.

90 Letter to editor, op. cit. (89).

91 The Annual Register … for the year 1868, London: Rivingtons, 1869, p. 348 .

92 George Gore's 1878 guide, The Art of Scientific Discovery, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., p. 298, instructs readers in a method for using the Catalogue to find papers on a given subject. More comments on both the utility and inadequacy of the Catalogue as a research tool can be found in correspondence received by the Royal Society in 1894 in response to a survey regarding the possibility of creating an annual successor to the Catalogue (which became the International Catalogue of Scientific Literature). See letters collected in MS/531, Royal Society of London.

93 Nature (18 November 1869) 1, p. 86.

94 See, for example, ‘Zur Statistik der Naturwissenschaftlichen Litteratur’, Wiener Zeitung, 5 February 1870, p. 437.

95 For example, see Athenaeum, 7 June 1879, p. 732.

96 ‘Ein Verzeichniß sämmticher naturwissenschaftlichen Abhandlungen aus den Jahren 1800 bis mit 1863’, Wiener Zeitung, 18 July 1868, p. 201.

97 ‘Catalogue of scientific papers’, op. cit. (86), p. 791.

98 Nordau, Max Simon, Degeneration, London: Heinemann, 1895, p. 114 (translation of Entartung (1893)).

99 von Haidinger, Wilhelm Ritter, ‘Catalogue of scientific papers (1800–1863)’, Verhandlungen der K.K. Geologischen Reichanstalt (15 February 1870), 4, pp. 7074 .

100 Haidinger, op. cit. (99), p. 74.

101 Lehman, Harvey C., ‘Men's creative production rate at different ages and in different countries’, Scientific Monthly (1954) 78, pp. 321326 ; Beaver, Donald deB., The American Scientific Community, 1800–1860: A Statistical-Historical Study, New York: Arno Press, 1968, p. 1 . See also Dennis, Wayne, ‘Bibliographies of eminent scientists’, Scientific Monthly (1954) 79, pp. 180183 .

102 After 1836, 391 of his 405 entries in the Catalogue are references to the Comptes rendus. To be clear, criticism of Cauchy was not the same as contemporary criticism of authors who engage in so-called ‘salami science’ to pad their CV. There was little or no sense at that time that having published very many short articles (as opposed to longer memoirs or books) was in itself something to be rewarded. For the twentieth-century version of such criticism see, for example, Broad, William J., ‘The publishing game: getting more for less’, Science (1981) 211, pp. 11371139 .

103 J.-B. Biot, ‘Comptes rendus hebdomadaires’, Journal des savans, November 1842, pp. 641–661, 659–660.

104 See, for example, Berzelius, Jöns, Jahres-Bericht über die Fortschritte der physischen Wissenschaften (1828) 7, p. 87 ; and reported speech of Felix Klein in letter from Georges Brunel to Henri Poincaré, 7 July 1881, in La correspondance d'Henri Poincaré avec des mathématiciens de A à H’, Cahiers du Séminaire d'histoire des mathématiques (1986) 7, p. 92 .

105 Of the thirty-six authors with at least two hundred publications listed, seventeen were editors and all of these published extensively in the periodicals with which they were associated. See Appendix below.

106 Bemerkungen zu der vorstehenden Abhandlung des Herrn Dr. Reichenbach’, Annalen der Pharmacie (1834) 10, pp. 315323, 315.

107 Notably, French authors accounted for nearly half of all co-authored papers. For details on the calculation, see the Appendix below.

108 Athenaeum, 6 June 1868, p. 791.

109 This obituary appeared in Nature (1874) 9, pp. 403–404. But see also the Athenaeum, 28 February 1874, p. 297.

110 Hauer, Franz Ritter v., ‘Zur Erinnerung an Wilhelm Haidinger’, Jahrbuch der Kaiserlich-Königlichen Geologischen Reichsanstalt (1871) 21, pp. 3140 ; Ed. Döll, Wilhelm Ritter von Haidinger, Vienna: Realschule, 1871.

111 Poggendorff, Johann, ‘Vor- und Schlusswort des Verfassers’, in Biographisch-Literarisches Handwörterbuch für Mathematik, Astronomie, Physik mit Geophysik, Chemie, Kristallographie und Verwandte Wissensgebiete, Band 1, Leipzig: J.A. Barth, 1863, p. v.

112 Chappey, op. cit. (13), pp. 10, 13.

113 Poggendorff, op. cit. (111), p. vi.

114 Yeo, Richard, ‘Alphabetical lives: scientific biography in historical dictionaries and encyclopaedias’, in Shortland, Michael and Yeo, Richard (eds.), Telling Lives in Science: Essays on Scientific Biography, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996, pp. 139170 .

115 Johann Christian Poggendorff’, Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1877), 12, p. 331 .

116 Biography, or Third Division of ‘The English Cyclopaedia’, Supplement, London: Bradbury, Evans, & Co., 1872 . The Catalogue was most relevant for those names in the first part of the alphabet, since authors of entries would only have had access to about the first three volumes.

117 In 1863, the Royal Society made it easier to include such lists by introducing a new form that did away with the various categories of qualifications and simply left a large blank space which candidates almost invariably used for publications. Election certificates for foreign members and those of the ‘privileged class’ did not require qualifications.

118 Notice sur les travaux scientifiques de Henri Poincaré, Paris: Gauthier-Villars, 1886. On the gradual transformation of this genre toward the form of a publication list see Crosland, op. cit. (78).

119 Foster, Michael, ‘A conspectus of science’, Quarterly Review (1903) 197, pp. 139160, 147. On the relationship between the Catalogue of Scientific Papers and the later International Catalogue of Scientific Literature project see Alex Csiszar, ‘Broken pieces of fact’, PhD dissertation, Harvard University, 2010, pp. 350–425.

120 de Solla Price, Derek, Little Science, Big Science, New York: Columbia University Press, 1963, p. 1 . Merton's programme was based at Columbia University (where he ran a yearly graduate seminar on the sociology of science starting in 1965). Other key groups included Price's base at Yale University, and the group, largely based in Europe, responsible for Reidel's Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook.

121 See, for example, the SciPer project: Cantor, G. et al. (eds.), Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: Reading the Magazine of Nature, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004 ; Cantor, G. and Shuttleworth, S. (eds.), Science Serialized: Representations of the Sciences in Nineteenth-Century Periodicals, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004 .

122 Secord, Anne, ‘Science in the pub: artisan botanists in early nineteenth-century Lancashire’, History of Science (1994) 32, pp. 269315 ; and Secord, James, ‘How scientific conversation became shop talk’, in Fyfe, Aileen and Lightman, Bernard (eds.), Science in the Marketplace: Nineteenth-Century Sites and Experiences, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2007, pp. 2359 .

123 For a more general statement of this distinction see Shapin, Steven, ‘Discipline and bounding: the history and sociology of science as seen through the externalism–internalism debate’, History of Science (1992) 30, pp. 333369 ; and Shapin, Science and the public’, in Olby, R.C., Cantor, G.N., Christie, J.R.R. and Hodge, M.J.S. (eds.), A Companion to the History of Modern Science, London: Routledge, 1990, pp. 9901007 .

124 Priem, Jason, ‘Scholarship: beyond the paper’, Nature (28 March 2013) 495, pp. 437440 ; and Piwowar, Heather, ‘Value all research products’, Nature (10 January 2013) 493, p. 159 .

125 For more on the broader context for this argument see Kelty, op. cit. (8), on constitutive closure and open-science movements.

I am grateful for suggestions on versions of this work by Mario Biagioli, Thomas Broman, Emily Dolan, Aileen Fyfe and Steven Shapin, as well as to Jim Secord and Simon Schaffer for earlier conversations that set me on my way.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

How lives became lists and scientific papers became data: cataloguing authorship during the nineteenth century

  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.

A correction has been issued for this article: