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WE take the following from the New York Nation of Aug. 20:— “The American Association for the Advancement of Science has held its annual meeting at Hartford during the past and present week. The most important business before the meeting has been the consideration and adoption of a new constitution, designed to remedy a long-continued evil growing out of the popular character of the Association. The scientific character of the papers and proceedings has very frequently been such as seriously to compromise the standing of the Association in the scientific world. To remedy this, it has been decided to select from the members those who are engaged in science and form them into a separate class of ‘Fellows.’ All the officers of the Association are now to be chosen from this class, and the power of the several committees to exclude improper or unsuitable communications has been increased. All friends of science will await l with interest the working of this improvement. The necessity of some vigorous and effective measures must be obvious to any one who will simply examine the lists of papers presented for reading. Among some hundred authors, the number of really eminent men may be counted on one's fingers, while the large majority are entirely unknown, and present papers which, so far as can be judged from their titles, are of no scientific importance. We greatly doubt whether this evil will be cured by anything short of a radical change in the publishing system of the Association. So long as there is a volume of ‘Proceedings’ to be published, so long will there be a pressure on the part of the less desirable class of members to have their papers printed, and this pressure can be resisted only by a little more moral courage on the part of the Standing Committee than it has hitherto exhibited. While such papers are admitted, we may be sure that few of the abler members will wish their productions to be seen in such company. It is gratifying to notice that the present meeting exhibits a decided improvement in this respect, and that notwithstanding the general unimportance of the communications, the subjects of ether and atoms do not appear among those discussed before the Association.”

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Notes . Nature 10, 382–384 (1874).

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