The Academy received a record response from Fellows to its readership survey, sent out in March, regarding Historical Records of Australian Science (HRAS). The purpose of the survey was to help support the Academy’s Executive Committee in its decision making about future publishing options for HRAS.
HRAS is published biannually (June and December) on behalf of the Academy, in print and online, by CSIRO Publishing. It publishes peer-reviewed articles and book reviews on the history of science, both pure and applied, in Australia and the southwest Pacific, and an annual bibliography of the history of science in Australia and the region. It also includes biographical memoirs of deceased Fellows.
All Fellows of the Academy receive a print copy of the journal and it is also purchased, predominantly online, by about 90 institutional subscribers. It is ranked 45 out of 58 journals listed in the Thomson Reuters ‘History & Philosophy of Science’ category.
The response rate for the readership survey of Fellows, sent out on 11 March 2014, was 280 from 456 Fellows (more than 60%) – a record for Academy surveys. Of the 96% of respondents who said they received the journal, 94% said they opened it, and 81% said they read it.
Of the 81% who read it, 78% read the historical articles, 77% the memoirs, 35% the reviews and 29% the bibliographies. In terms of format, 60% preferred to read the journal in print and 33% preferred to read it online, while 10% preferred both. Only 20% said they would be prepared to pay for HRAS (which currently forms part of the membership subscription). Of the 197 respondents who provided comments in the survey, a number reported that their reading was relatively superficial, and low priority compared to other reading demands.
At its May meeting, the Executive Committee decided to renew the CSIRO publishing contract for HRAS for an additional year (to 31 December 2015) while it considers future publishing options. The Academy remains committed to the publication of memoirs of deceased Fellows.
The journal is available online here.
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