Letter | Published:

[Letters to Editor]

Naturevolume 105pages353354 (1920) | Download Citation



IN the leading article in NATURE of May 6 on the cost of scientific publications, reference is made to the critical financial position of those of our scientific societies which have no popular means of adding to their income. The position is serious. The scientific worker, upon whom, to a great extent, a scientific society depends for maintenance, is rarely in a position to add to his financial obligations, and the interested person from whom the society also receives considerable support is often in a similar position. If a society is to be efficient, the library must be kept up, the standard of publications be maintained, and its salaried staff receive at least a living wage. How is this to be done? Apart from external aid, there are only two ways—by exercise of rigid economy, and by increased contributions from the members. It is not economy to starve the library, and economy in publication must be employed with great discretion. The dignified quarto which supplies a link with the early days of the society may be suspended, illustrations reduced to the absolute minimum, communications condensed or reduced, and every conceivable means adopted to avoid expense; but with a diminished sum available for printing, and printing costs trebled, it is obvious that the efficiency of the society as a means of publication must be seriously reduced.

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