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A learned society is a society that exists to promote an academic discipline or group of disciplines. Membership may be open to all, may require possession of some qualification, or may be an honor conferred by election, as is the case with the oldest learned societies, such as the Roman Accademia dei Lincei (founded 1603), the Académie française (founded 1635) or the Royal Society of London (founded 1660).
Most learned societies are non-profit organizations. 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.
Learned societies are of key importance in the sociology of science. The formation of a society is an important step in the emergence of a new discipline or sub-discipline.
See also[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
- Scholarly Societies Project from the University of Waterloo Libraries -- database of hundreds of scholarly societies in various fields, including some of the oldest societies
- Eclectica, virtual exhibit on the history of Canadian learned societies.
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