Learned society

A learned society (/ˈlɜːrnɪd/; also known as a learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an organisation that exists to promote an academic discipline, profession, or a group of related disciplines such as the arts.[1] Membership may be open to all, may require possession of some qualification, or may be an honour conferred by election.[2]

Most learned societies are non-profit organisations, and many are professional associations. Their activities typically include holding regular conferences for the presentation and discussion of new research results and publishing or sponsoring academic journals in their discipline. Some also act as professional bodies, regulating the activities of their members in the public interest or the collective interest of the membership.


Some of the oldest learned societies are the Académie des Jeux floraux[3] (founded 1323), the Sodalitas Litterarum Vistulana (founded 1488), the Accademia della Crusca (founded 1585), the Accademia dei Lincei (founded 1603), the Académie Française (founded 1635), the Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (founded 1652), the Royal Society of London (founded 1660) and the French Academy of Sciences (founded 1666).


Scholars in the sociology of science argue that learned societies are of key importance and their formation assists in the emergence and development of new disciplines or professions.


Societies can be very general in nature, such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, specific to a given discipline, such as the Modern Language Association, or specific to a given area of study, such as the Royal Entomological Society.

Most are either specific to a particular country (e.g. the Entomological Society of Israel), though they generally include some members from other countries as well, often with local branches, or are international, such as the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) or the Regional Studies Association, in which case they often have national branches. But many are local, such as the Massachusetts Medical Society, the publishers of the internationally known New England Journal of Medicine.

Some learned societies (such as the Royal Society Te Apārangi) have been rechartered by legislation to form quasi-autonomous non-governmental organizations.

Membership and fellowship

Membership may be open to all, may require possession of some qualification, or may be an honor conferred by election.[2] This is the case with some learned societies, such as the Polish Sodalitas Litterarum Vistulana (founded 1488), the Italian Accademia dei Lincei, the Académie Française, the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the UK's Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering or the French Academy of Sciences.

Some societies offer membership to those who have an interest in a particular subject or discipline, provided they pay their membership fees. Older and more academic/professional societies may offer associateships and/or fellowships to fellows who are appropriately qualified by honoris causa, or by submission of a portfolio of work or an original thesis. A benefit of membership may be discounted subscription rates for the publications of the society. Many of these societies award post-nominal letters to their memberships.

Online academic communities

Following the globalization and the development of information technology, certain scholarly societies—such as the Modern Language Association—have created virtual communities for their members. In addition to established academic associations, academic virtual communities have been so organized that, in some cases, they have become more important platforms for interaction and scientific collaborations among researchers and faculty than have traditional scholarly societies. Members of these online academic communities, grouped by areas of interests, use for their communication shared and dedicated listservs (for example JISCMail), social networking services (like Facebook, Linkedin) and academic oriented social networks (like Mendeley, Academia.edu).[4][5]

See also


  1. ^ "The Environmental Studies Association of Canada - What is a Learned Society?". Archived from the original on 29 May 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Learned societies & academies". Archived from the original on 3 June 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
  3. ^ Express, 1&1 TopSite. "Accueil/Actualité - Académie des Jeux floraux". jeuxfloraux.fr. Archived from the original on 6 March 2018. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  4. ^ "How virtual science communities are transforming academic research". Archived from the original on 10 August 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
  5. ^ Nistor, Nicolae; Baltes, Beate; Dascălu, Mihai; Mihăilă, Dan; Smeaton, George; Trăuşan-Matu, Ştefan (May 2014). "Participation in virtual academic communities of practice under the influence of technology acceptance and community factors. A learning analytics application". Computers in Human Behavior. 34: 339–344. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2013.10.051.

External links

Astrobiology Society of Britain

The Astrobiology Society of Britain (ASB) is a learned society dedicated to the understanding and advancement of astrobiology in the United Kingdom. The organisation is affiliated with NASA.The society is mainly made up of members from the United Kingdom but also has international members. The society was created in 2003, when it emerged from the e-mailing list-based UK Astrobiology Forum and Network at the UK's first Astrobiology Conference in 2003 in Cambridge.

The ASB has official affiliations with the Royal Astronomical Society and the NASA Astrobiology Institute.

Barry Cunliffe

Sir Barrington Windsor Cunliffe (born 10 December 1939), known as Barry Cunliffe, is a British archaeologist and academic. He was Professor of European Archaeology at the University of Oxford from 1972 to 2007. Since 2007, he has been an Emeritus Professor.

Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

The Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (abbreviated BAS, in Bulgarian: Българска академия на науките, Balgarska akademiya na naukite, abbreviated БАН) is the National Academy of Bulgaria, established in 1869. The Academy, located in Sofia, is autonomous and has a Society of Academicians, Correspondent Members and Foreign Members. It publishes and circulates different scientific works, encyclopedias, dictionaries and journals, and runs its own publishing house.

Stefan Vodenicharov has been president of the BAS since 2012. Its budget in 2009 was 84 million leva, or 42.7 million euro. The Bulgarian Space Agency, part of the BAS, has a budget of 1 million euro.

Christopher Hooley

Christopher Hooley (7 August 1928 – 13 December 2018) was a British mathematician, professor of mathematics at Cardiff University. He did his PhD under the supervision of Albert Ingham. He won the Adams Prize of Cambridge University in 1973. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1983. He was also a Founding Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.

He showed that the Hasse principle holds for non-singular cubic forms in at least nine variables.He proved one of Emil Artin's two conjectures, Artin's conjecture on primitive roots, conditionally, assuming the Generalized Riemann Hypothesis.

David Crystal

David Crystal, (born 6 July 1941) is a British linguist, academic and author.

David Lloyd Jones, Lord Lloyd-Jones

David Lloyd Jones, Lord Lloyd-Jones, PC, FLSW (born 13 January 1952) is a British judge and legal scholar. He is currently a justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and served earlier as a member of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales and as a chairman of the Law Commission.

David Olive

David Ian Olive CBE FRS FLSW ( (listen); 16 April 1937 – 7 November 2012) was a British theoretical physicist. Olive made fundamental contributions to string theory and duality theory, he is particularly known for his work on the GSO projection and Montonen–Olive duality.

He was Professor of physics at Imperial College, London from 1984 to 1992. In 1992 he moved to Swansea University to help set up the new theoretical physics group.He was awarded the Dirac Prize and Medal of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in 1997. He was a Founding Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales. He was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society in 1987, and appointed CBE in 2002.

Hungarian Academy of Sciences

The Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Hungarian: Magyar Tudományos Akadémia (MTA)) is the most important and prestigious learned society of Hungary. Its seat is at the bank of the Danube in Budapest, between Széchenyi rakpart and Akadémia utca. Its main responsibilities are the cultivation of science, dissemination of scientific findings, supporting research and development and representing Hungarian science domestically and around the world.

Learned Society of Wales

The Learned Society of Wales is a learned society and charity that exists to "celebrate, recognise, preserve, protect and encourage excellence in all of the scholarly disciplines", and to serve the Welsh nation.The Learned Society of Wales (in Welsh, Cymdeithas Ddysgedig Cymru) is Wales’s first and only all-embracing national scholarly academy. A Registered Charity, it was established and launched on 25 May 2010 at the National Museum of Wales. and was granted a Royal Charter in 2015 . It is based in Cardiff.It is an independent, self-governing, pan-disciplinary and bilingual organisation operating throughout Wales.

Leszek Borysiewicz

Sir Leszek Krzysztof Borysiewicz (born 13 April 1951) is a Welsh immunologist and scientific administrator. He served as the 345th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, his term of office (a maximum of seven years) started on 1 October 2010 and ended on 1 October 2017. Borysiewicz also served as chief executive of the Medical Research Council of the UK from 2007-2010.

Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (Norwegian: Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi, DNVA) is a learned society based in Oslo, Norway.

Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences

The Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences (Norwegian: Norges Tekniske Vitenskapsakademi, NTVA) is a learned society based in Trondheim, Norway.

Founded in 1955, the academy has about 500 members. It is a member of the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS) and of the European Council of Applied Sciences and Engineering (Euro-CASE).

Royal Society of Chemistry

The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) is a learned society (professional association) in the United Kingdom with the goal of "advancing the chemical sciences". It was formed in 1980 from the amalgamation of the Chemical Society, the Royal Institute of Chemistry, the Faraday Society, and the Society for Analytical Chemistry with a new Royal Charter and the dual role of learned society and professional body. At its inception, the Society had a combined membership of 34,000 in the UK and a further 8,000 abroad. The headquarters of the Society are at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London. It also has offices in Thomas Graham House in Cambridge (named after Thomas Graham, the first president of the Chemical Society) where RSC Publishing is based. The Society has offices in the United States at the University City Science Center, Philadelphia, in both Beijing and Shanghai, China and Bangalore, India.

The organisation carries out research, publishes journals, books and databases, as well as hosting conferences, seminars and workshops. It is the professional body for chemistry in the UK, with the ability to award the status of Chartered Chemist (CChem) and, through the Science Council the awards of Chartered Scientist (CSci), Registered Scientist (RSci) and Registered Science Technician (RScTech) to suitably qualified candidates. The designation FRSC is given to a group of elected Fellows of the society who have made major contributions to chemistry and other interface disciplines such as biological chemistry. The names of Fellows are published each year in The Times (London). Honorary Fellowship of the Society ("HonFRSC") is awarded for distinguished service in the field of chemistry.

Royal Statistical Society

The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) is one of the world's most distinguished and renowned statistical societies. It has three main goals. The RSS is a British learned society for statistics, a professional body for statisticians, and a charity which promotes statistics for the public good.

Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts

The Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (Serbian: Српска академија наука и уметности/Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti, abbr. САНУ/SANU) is a national academy and the most prominent academic institution in Serbia, founded in 1841 as Society of Serbian Letters (Serbian: Друштво србске словесности/Društvo srbske slovesnosti, abbr. ДСС/DSS).

The Academy's membership has included Josif Pančić, Jovan Cvijić, Stojan Novaković, Branislav Petronijević, Mihajlo Pupin, Nikola Tesla, Milutin Milanković, Mihailo Petrović-Alas, Bogdan Gavrilović, Ivo Andrić, Mehmed Meša Selimović, Danilo Kiš and many other scientists, scholars and artists of Serbian and foreign origin.

Society of Construction Arbitrators

The Society of Construction Arbitrators is a learned society of arbitrators, adjudicators and mediators in the construction industry, based in London. It has as its object the development and support of commercial methods of alternative dispute resolution. Members of the Society include architects, engineers, surveyors and lawyers from around the world.

Thomas Charles-Edwards

Thomas Mowbray Charles-Edwards (born 11 November 1943) is an emeritus academic at Oxford University. He formerly held the post of Jesus Professor of Celtic and is a Professorial Fellow at Jesus College.


Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons. It was formed by the merger of John Wiley's Global Scientific, Technical, and Medical business with Blackwell Publishing, after Wiley took over the latter in 2007.Wiley-Blackwell publishes in a diverse range of academic and professional fields, including biology, medicine, physical sciences, technology, social science, and the humanities. As a learned society publisher, it partners with around 750 societies and associations. The company publishes nearly 1,500 peer-reviewed journals and more than 1,500 new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works, and laboratory protocols. The online versions are in the Wiley Online Library, which replaced the previous website, Wiley InterScience, in August 2010.

Wiley-Blackwell is based in Hoboken, New Jersey (United States) and has offices in Boston and international locations including Oxford, Chichester, Berlin, Singapore, Melbourne, Tokyo, and Beijing.

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