A century of Hereditas: from local publication to international journal

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Background: The Mendelian Society of Lund launched Hereditas in 1920. The purpose of this article is to give an overview of Hereditas’s hundred-year existence, focusing on the conditions for a learned society to publish a scientific journal, and the journal’s importance for the publication and dissemination of genetic research. The article focuses on the historical development of the journal and analyses how the content and orientation of research published in Hereditas have changed over the years. Methods: The historical study is based on the collation and interpretation of archival material, mainly held in the Mendelian Society’s archive, which includes the Hereditas archive. The bibliometric analyses are based on bibliographic metadata from Web of Science (WoS). Together with descriptive statistics, co-citation analyses were performed by using BibExcel, in combination with the clustering and visualisation tool VOSviewer. Journals with articles citing Hereditas articles were identified as a complement to the co-citation analyses. Results: The history of the journal falls into three main periods: a local period, 1920–1959, when Hereditas was primarily intended for Swedish geneticists; a Scandinavian period, 1960–1988, when Hereditas was the official journal of the Scandinavian Association of Geneticists; and an international period from 1989 onwards. The original decision that Hereditas should cover genetic research with no particular specialisation was retained throughout. Its publications demonstrate the continuing presence of genetic research on plants and animals, albeit with a shifting focus, while human genetics emerged slowly and reached its peak in the period 1960–1988. Conclusion: In the hundred years of Hereditas’s existence, the publishing landscape has changed dramatically, including a far greater number of specialist journals, changes to the academic merit system, new commercial models for publishing, and digitalisation. Over the years, the journal’s survival has therefore been dependent on the strong commitment of its owners and an ability to adapt to changing conditions.

StatusPublished - 2020

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Biblioteks- och informationsvetenskap


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