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Learned Societies
Learned societies
Introduction

Learned societies are associations of individuals sharing common intellectual interests and objectives, usually outlined in a formal constitution. They vary in size from small amateur associations communicating by occasional newsletters, to large international organisations with thousands of members, regular conferences, and prestigious, high-impact journals. Membership criteria range from open societies that require only an annual subscription, to highly selective associations reserved for the smallest elites. Most are non-profit, private organisations, though many larger associations have impressive financial resources. Some venerable societies were established by royal or government patronage and retain a measure of official recognition. Others cherish their independence from all external influences.

The relationship between learned societies and higher education has generally been mutually sustaining, though some older organisations were founded specifically ...

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