Isis (journal)

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The journal was established by George Sarton and the first issue appeared in March 1913. [1] [2] Contributions were originally in any of four European languages (English, French, German, and Italian), but since the 1920s, only English has been used. [3] [4] Publication is partly supported by an endowment from the Dibner Fund. Two associated publications are Osiris (established 1936 by Sarton) and the Isis Current Bibliography.

The publication of the journal was interrupted in 1914 by the German invasion of Belgium during World War I, and resumed in 1919. During World War II, publication was interrupted again in 1940 and in 1945. Since then, each year four issues (sometimes double issues) of one volume have appeared in print, and since 2002 the journal has also been published in full-text electronic format.

The Isis Current Bibliography started as Critical Bibliography and was published from the very first volume onwards. Since 1969, the Critical Bibliography was published as the fifth issue to a volume. In 1989, the name was changed to Isis Current Bibliography to reflect that, since Sarton’s retirement in 1953, the bibliography had not been truly critical in the sense that each citation was commented on by an expert. It then also became a separate publication from Isis. It includes citations to publications in the history of science and related fields, including books, book reviews, journal articles and more. The bibliography is the oldest and largest bibliography in the field, going back to the first issue of Isis in 1913. The Isis Current Bibliography is freely available at the website of University of Chicago Press [5] and the IsisCB Explore website. [6] [7]

History of Science Society

In 1924, the History of Science Society [8] was founded by George Sarton and Lawrence Joseph Henderson to secure the future of Isis. [9]

Journal title

In a paper Why Isis, Sarton explains that the choice of the name for his journal was made rather unconsciously, after having been introduced to Egyptology during a visit to the Egyptian section of the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in The Netherlands. [10] In his paper, Sarton elaborates on the misunderstandings the name Isis can generate: in the early years, Isis was often linked to freemasonry, because some of their rites are purportedly of Egyptian origin. Another misinterpretation was that Isis referred to theosophy, most likely caused by the book entitled Isis Unveiled (1877) by Helena Blavatsky, who was the leader of the theosophic movement at that time. Also, and very reasonably, Isis was taken to be a journal devoted to Egyptology.


The following persons are or have been editors-in-chief:

Abstracting and indexing

The journal is abstracted and indexed in:

According to the Journal Citation Reports , the journal has a 2017 impact factor of 1.070, ranking it 11th out of 61 journals in the category "History and Philosophy of Science" (Science edition). [18]

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History of Science Society

The History of Science Society (HSS) is the primary professional society for the academic study of the history of science. It was founded in 1924 by George Sarton and Lawrence Joseph Henderson, primarily to support the publication of Isis, a journal of the history of science Sarton had started in 1912. The society has over 3,000 members worldwide. It continues to publish the quarterly journal Isis, the yearly Osiris, sponsors the IsisCB: History of Science Index, and holds an annual conference.

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  1. Sarton, George (March 1913), "L'Histoire de la Science", Isis, 1 (1): 3–46, doi: 10.1086/357728
  2. "The History of Science". The Independent. Jul 20, 1914. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
  3. George Sarton (22 February 1919), Letter to the New York Evening Post
  4. George Sarton (1919), "War and Civilization", Isis, 2 (2): 320–321, doi:10.1086/357864
  5. "Isis Journal". University of Chicago Press.
  6. "IsisCB - Search".
  7. "IsisCB - Archive".
  8. "History of Science Society".
  9. Smith, David Eugene (February 1924), "The History of Science Society", Science , 59 (1519): 138, CiteSeerX , doi:10.1126/science.59.1519.138
  10. Sarton, George (September 1953), "Why Isis", Isis, 44 (3): 232–242, doi:10.1086/348224
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