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Archives in London and the M25 area

Referees Reports

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0117 RR
Held at: Royal Society
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Full title: Referees Reports
Date(s): 1831-2002
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 32 bound volumes and 186 boxes
Name of creator(s): Royal Society


Administrative/Biographical history:

This system of 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; those failing to gain a majority vote on two meetings of the Committee were rejected, but the Committee could call upon any Fellow to present a written Report to assist the process of deliberation before the second meeting, Formal printed sheets first appeared in 1898 and continue to the present day.


Scope and content/abstract:

Reports on scientific papers submitted for publication to the Royal Society from 1832 to date (Peer Review). 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. Much of their interest derives from the comment of one scientist on the work of another, for example Michael Faraday on J P Joule (RR.3.154,158) or Sir Oliver Lodge on Ernest Rutherford (RR.13.106).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Chronologically by year. 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 date. There are 6,094 Reports for 1832-1917, after which the papers are unsorted. From 1932 Reports on withdrawn papers began to be kept as separate annual bundles.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

No publication without written permission. Apply to Archivist in the first instance.

Finding aids:

Catalogued on cards in the General Card Catalogue under authors names. No list exists of Reports on withdrawn papers. Detailed catalogue available at

Archival Information

Archival history:

Begun in 1831.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Description produced by the Royal Society and revised by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Created 15/04/2002, modified 15/05/2002, revised Sep 2002

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