Referring to Others in the Scientific Journal Article. A brief history


  • David Banks Université de Bretagne Occidentale, France



Ancients and Moderns, Praise and Criticism, Provenance, Reference, Scientific Community, Scientific Journal Article


Study of a corpus of 30 articles taken from the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, and covering the period 1700-1980, shows that their writing contains features which betray the relationships that prevailed within the scientific community of their time. Some features, such as mention of the Ancients, die out quickly, while others, like giving the provenance of specimens, continue throughout the period. Praising others is common in the early articles but disappears as time goes on. There is some evidence of the epistolary form from which the scientific article developed. Critical remarks, particularly in the early years are accompanied by attempts to explain the supposed error. There is also evidence of the way the gentleman scientist, or virtuoso, gradually gives way to the professional.

Author Biography

David Banks, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, France

David Banks is Professor of English Linguistics at the Université de Bretagne Occidentale, France. He is Director of ERLA (Equipe de Recherche en Linguistique Appliquée), and Chairman of AFLSF (Association Française de la Linguistique Systémique Fonctionnelle). He is author or editor of a dozen books and over 50 academic articles.


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How to Cite

Banks, D. (2008). Referring to Others in the Scientific Journal Article. A brief history. Linguistics and the Human Sciences, 2(3), 329–353.