Throughout its history, the Royal Society of London has been a male-dominated institution; it finally admitted women to its prestigious fellowship in 1945. One of the effects of this change was that it became possible for women to be involved in the editorial processes at the Society’s publications, the Philosophical Transactions (f. 1665) and the Proceedings (f. 1831). There had been a small but growing number of female authors in the Society’s publications since the 1890s, but two key roles were reserved for Fellows: the right to ‘communicate’ a paper to the Society on behalf of a non-Fellow (a key gatekeeping role); and the possibility of acting as expert referee to evaluate papers submitted (key in the making of editorial decisions). Thus, until 1945, all gatekeeping and editorial decision-making for the Royal Society’s publications was done by men. This paper is part of a larger project about the history of the Society’s publications, and will explore the role of women in editorial decision-making from 1945 onwards. Through examining the surviving referee reports (both accepted and declined for publication) and other archival material, I will explore the gendered experience of peer review of and by women at the Royal Society.

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