Conservative attitudes to old-established organs: Oliver Lodge and Philosophical Magazine

[I’ve recently had an article published in Notes and Records on Oliver Lodge and the Philosophical Magazine. It was co-written with the brilliant Imogen Clarke and is available ahead of print publication via the Notes and Records website here (£). I’ll put a link to the postprint version (OA) once the embargo has passed. The abstract is below]

In 1921 Oliver Lodge defended Philosophical Magazine against charges of mismanagement from the National Union of Scientific Workers. They alleged that its editors performed little editorial work, the bulk being done by the publishers, Taylor & Francis. Lodge reassured Nature’s readers that the journal did consult its editors, and suggested ‘a conservative attitude towards old-established organs is wise; and that it is possible to over-organise things into lifelessness.’ The paper explores Lodge’s response by considering the editorial arrangements at Philosophical Magazine. Founded in 1798, it remained remarkably unchanged and so appeared old-fashioned when compared with its closest rivals, Proceedings of the Royal Society and Proceedings of the Physical Society. We argue that for Lodge the management of Philosophical Magazine gave it the flexibility and independence required to sustain the kind of physics, also open to accusations of obsolescence, in which he believed.