This article seeks to illuminate the shifting and unstable configuration of scientific print culture around 1800 through a close focus on William Nicholson's Journal of Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, and the Arts, generally known as Nicholson's Journal. Viewing Nicholson as a mediator between the two spheres of British commercial journalism and scientific enquiry, I investigate the ways he adapted practices and conventions from the domain of general-readership monthly periodicals for his Journal, forging a virtual community of scientific knowledge exchange in print. However, in pursing this project Nicholson ran up against disreputable associations connected with the politics of journalism and came into conflict with more established models of scientific publication. To illustrate this, I turn to examine in detail the practice of reprinting, a technique of information transmission which the Journal adapted from general periodicals and newspapers, looking at a clash between Nicholson and the Royal Society that exposes disagreements over the appropriate role for journals during this period of reorganization in the scientific world.
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