|Description||Reports on scientific papers submitted for publication to the Royal Society from 1832 to date, making this a record of the origins of peer review publishing in practice. The referees were appointed to advise the Committee of Papers, and were drawn from appropriate subject disciplines within the Fellowship. |
Referees' reports vary in content between terse notes recommending acceptance or rejection to long monographs devoted to the subject under review. There are occasional responses from authors to referee's reports contained in the series. Formal printed sheets first appeared in 1898 and continue to the present day.
Much of the reports' interest derives from the comment of one scientist on the work of another, for example Faraday on Joule (RR/3/154,158) or Lodge on Rutherford (RR/13/106).
Early reports are bound into volumes for the period 1832-1902, and one box of additional papers for 1838-1848. Then the series continues as boxes of loose papers to present date.
|Administrative history||The system of peer review assessment began in December 1831, and became the norm for most papers, although the reports were not necessarily presented in person. The Statutes of the Royal Society for 1831 describe the process by which papers were judged (see especially Statute XIII); those failing to gain a majority vote on two meetings of the Committee were rejected, but the Committee could call upon any Fellow to assist the process of deliberation before the second meeting. From 1900 the report lists the Sectional Committee to which the paper was sent to be assigned to an appropriate referee. Each of the Sectional Committees represents different scientific disciplines. Formal printed sheets for the reports first appeared in 1898 and continue to the present day|