The advance of science and technology is facilitated by (some would say due to) the publication of peer-review journals. While the goal of such journals—to deliver top-quality information—has not changed, it is inevitable that their production details are under intense pressure from developments in networking and electronic publication. Will journals disappear or morph into new, more efficient forms? As always, before delving into the future it is instructive to browse through the past.

Natural history, astronomy, and many other sciences date back to ancient times, but the concept of a scientific journal was born in 1665 with publication of the...

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