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Science(s) and publishing(s), from 1780 to the interwar period

Special Issue Philosophia Scientiae 22-2 (June 2018)

Guess editors

Franck Jovanovic (TELUQ-Université du Québec, Canada),

Viera Rebolledo-Dhuin (Université de Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, CHCSC, France),

Norbert Verdier (Université Paris Sud, GHDSO, France)

Submission deadline: 24 April 2017

Notification of acceptance: 29 May 2017

Final version due: 26 June 2017

Address for submissions:


While the history of sciences allows the study of the emergence of new ideas, techniques or analyses, most of the time this history does not analyse the material and editorial constraints the production and the dissemination of new scientific knowledge have to face before and after the production process. In other words, most of the time the history of sciences does not consider the conditions in which the scientific writings are produced, particularly when these writings include visual tools, which are difficult to be printed. Consider, for instance how challenging it was to print mathematical equations, figures, graphs or any visual tool in the 19th Century. We can mention the case of the mathematician Augustin Cauchy (1789-1857) who saw one of his articles rejected because the printing press of the scientific journal was ill-equipped with typefaces. Such production and editorial constraints have a crucial impact on the way authors have expressed or formalised their ideas; they also impact the way scientific knowledge has been produced and disseminated.

On the other hand, the history of publishing analyzes some constraints, such as the economic ones, that the scientific publishing had to face. One telling example is the case of monograph studies [Dhenin 1990; Gourevitch and Vincent 2006; Béguet 1990; Bensaude-Vincent and Rasmussen 1997; Bensaude-Vincent 2000; Tesnière 2001].

Despite their common interests, and except some recent studies, the history of sciences and the history of publishing remind two separate fields [Verdier 2013; Anon. 2014].

This special issue aims at improving the dialogue between these two fields in order to explore, in new perspectives, and even in exploratory research, the way sciences were created. It will focus on an essential period: from 1780 to the interwar period, i.e. since the Encyclopédie to the creation of mass market for the scientific publishing, which emerged thanks to the publishing of textbooks during the second third of the 19th Century.

The topics can include but are not limited to:

  • the way some publishing niches dictated some specific writing or editing techniques;

  • the way publishing constraints or influences the scientific ideas and the construction of technical knowledge;

  • the way scientific or editorial committees can influence the scientific production;

  • the way sciences were diffused through books, textbooks for students or for the so-called scientific education of children, scientific journals, pamphlets, artistic mediums, etc.;

  • the role of the actors (authors, translators, publishers, journalists, etc.) in the diffusion of sciences (including vernacular sciences).

It is worth mentioning that the manuscript can be dedicated to any scientific field, such as “hard sciences” (mathematics, physics), life sciences (medicine, biology), economics, management, law, engineering sciences or any other kind of technical publishing.


The papers must be original contributions, not be under consideration for publication in any other journal; be in French, German, or English; not exceed 50.000 characters (including spaces and footnotes); contain abstracts (10-20 lines). Short papers can be submitted.

It can be prepared in LaTeX, MS-Word or OpenOffice (

Guidelines for the authors are available online (; authors who use Word or OpenOffice can use Zotero style sheet for instance

The manuscripts, including title, abstract and keywords, must be sent before the 24 April 2017 to


Béguet, B. (ed.) 1990 La science pour tous. Sur la vulgarisation scientifique en France de 1850 à 1914, Paris: Bibliothèque du Conservatoire national des arts et métiers.

Anon. 2014 Le livre et les techniques avant le XXe siècle. À l’échelle du monde : colloque international Paris 18-19-20 juin 2014 | École des Ponts Paris Tech.

Bensaude-Vincent, B. 2000 L’opinion publique et la science. À chacun son ignorance, Les empêcheurs de penser en rond, Paris: Institut d’édition Sanofi-Synthelabo.

Bensaude-Vincent, B., and A. Rasmussen (eds.) 1997 La science populaire dans la presse et l’édition, XIXe et XXe siècles, CNRS histoire, Paris: CNRS éd.

Dhenin, C. 1990 La Librairie médicale de Victor Masson, Mémoire de maîtrise en histoire Université Paris X-Nanterre.

Gourevitch, D., and J.-F. Vincent (eds.) 2006 J.-B. Baillière et fils, éditeurs de médecine. Actes du colloque international de Paris (29 janvier 2005), Collection Medic@; 1 volume Paris: Bibliothèque interuniversitaire de médecine et d’odontologie / De Boccard Édition-Diffusion.

Tesnière, V. 2001 Le Quadrige. Un siècle d’édition universitaire (1860-1968), Paris: Presses universitaires de France.

Verdier, N. 2013 “Éditer puis vendre des mathématiques avec la maison Bachelier (1812-1864)”, Revue d’histoire des mathématiques, 1 (19), 79–145.

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