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A learned society (; also known as a learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an
organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient that migrated from , a peninsu ...

organization
that exists to promote an
academic discipline An academic discipline or academic field is a subdivision of knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. The usual test for a statement of fact is ...
,
profession A Profession is a disciplined group of individuals who adhere to ethical standards and who hold themselves out as, and are accepted by the public as possessing special knowledge and skills in a widely recognised body of learning derived from r ...

profession
, or a group of related disciplines such as
the arts The arts refers to the theory, human application and physical expression of creativity Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something somehow new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible (such as an idea, a scienti ...
and
science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of ...

science
. Membership may be open to all, may require possession of some qualification, or may be an honour conferred by election. Most learned societies are
non-profit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, public or social benefit, in contrast with an entity that o ...
s, and many are
professional association A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or professional society) usually seeks to further Further or Furthur may refer to: *Furthur (bus), ''Furthur'' (bus), the Merry Pranksters' psychedelic bus ...
s. Their activities typically include holding regular
conference A conference is a meeting of people who "confer" about a topic. Conference types include: * Academic conference, in science and academic, a formal event where researchers present results, workshops, and other activities. * Athletic conference, a ...
s for the presentation and discussion of new research results and publishing or sponsoring
academic journal An academic or scholarly journal is a periodical publication Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media The presentation of w ...
s in their discipline. Some also act as
professional bodies A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or professional society) seeks to advocacy, further a particular profession, the interests of individuals engaged in that profession and the public interest. ...
, regulating the activities of their members in the public interest or the collective interest of the membership.


History

Some of the oldest learned societies are the
Académie des Jeux floraux
Académie des Jeux floraux
(founded 1323), the
Sodalitas Litterarum VistulanaSodalitas Litterarum Vistulana ("Literary Sodality of the Vistula") was an international academic society modelled after the Roman Academy, founded around 1488 in Cracow by Conrad Celtes, a German humanist scholar A scholar is a person who p ...
(founded 1488), the
Accademia della Crusca Accademia (Italian for "academy An academy ( Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was ...
(founded 1583), the
Accademia dei Lincei The Accademia dei Lincei (; literally the "Academy An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary education, secondary or tertiary education, tertiary higher education, higher learning, ...
(founded 1603), the
Académie Française An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary education, secondary or tertiary education, tertiary higher education, higher learning, research, or honorary membership. Academia is the w ...
(founded 1635), the
Academy of Sciences Leopoldina The German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (german: Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina – Nationale Akademie der Wissenschaften), short Leopoldina, is the national academy of Germany, and is located in Halle (Saale). Founded o ...

Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
(founded 1652), the
Royal Society of London The Royal Society, formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, is a learned society and the United Kingdom's national academy of sciences. Founded on 28 November 1660, it was granted a royal charter by Charles II of ...
(founded 1660) and the
French Academy of Sciences The French Academy of Sciences (French: ''Académie des sciences'') is a learned society A learned society (; also known as a learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an organization that exists to promote an discipli ...
(founded 1666).


Significance

Scholars in the
sociology of science Sociology is a social science Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of ...
argue that learned societies are of key importance and their formation assists in the emergence and development of new disciplines or professions.


Structure

Societies can be very general in nature, such as the
American Association for the Advancement of Science The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is an American international non-profit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution ...
, specific to a given discipline, such as the
Modern Language Association The Modern Language Association of America, often referred to as the Modern Language Association (MLA), is the principal professional association A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or prof ...
, or specific to a given area of study, such as the
Royal Entomological Society The Royal Entomological Society is devoted to the study of insects. Its aims are to disseminate information about insects and improving communication between entomology, entomologists. The society was founded in 1833 as the Entomological Societ ...
. Most are either specific to a particular country (e.g. the
Entomological Society of Israel {{Infobox organization , name = The Entomological Society of Israel , image = Entomological_Society_of_Israel_logo.tif , formation = 1962 , type = national academy A national academy is an organizational body, usually opera ...
), 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 The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is the leading international body representing the interests of people who rely on Library, libraries and information professionals. An independent, non-governmental, not ...
(IFLA) or the
Regional Studies Association The Regional Studies Association is a learned society with an international network of academics, policy makers and practitioner members. It was founded in 1965, following the foundation of the Regional Science Association in the USA and Internation ...
, in which case they often have national branches. But many are local, such as the
Massachusetts Medical Society The Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) is the oldest continuously operating state medical association in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Cont ...
, the publishers of the internationally known ''
New England Journal of Medicine ''The New England Journal of Medicine'' (''NEJM'') is a weekly medical journal published by the Massachusetts Medical Society. It is among the most prestigious peer-reviewed medical journals as well as the oldest continuously published one. Histo ...
''. Some learned societies (such as the
Royal Society Te Apārangi The Royal Society Te Apārangi (in full, Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi) is an independent, statutory not-for-profit body in New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It c ...
) 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. 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
fellow A fellow is a broad concept whose exact meaning depends on context. In learned Learning is the process of acquiring new understanding, knowledge, behaviors, skills, value (personal and cultural), values, attitudes, and preferences. The abil ...
s who are appropriately qualified by ''
honoris causa An honorary degree is an academic degree for which a university (or other degree-awarding institution) has waived all of the usual requirements, such as matriculation, attendance, course credits, a dissertation, and the passing of comprehen ...
'', or by submission of a portfolio of work or an original thesis. A benefit of membership may be discounts on the subscription rates for the publications of the society. Many of these societies award
post-nominal letters Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, post-nominal titles, designatory letters or simply post-nominals, are letters placed after a person's name to indicate that the individual holds a position, academic degree, accreditation, ...
to their memberships.


Online academic communities

Following the
globalization Globalization, or globalisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient that migrated from , a peninsu ...

globalization
and the development of information technology, certain scholarly societies—such as the
Modern Language Association The Modern Language Association of America, often referred to as the Modern Language Association (MLA), is the principal professional association A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or prof ...
—have created virtual communities for their members. In addition to established academic associations, academic
virtual communities A virtual community is a social network A social network is a social structure In the social sciences, social structure is the patterned social arrangements in society that are both emergence, emergent from and determinant of the Structu ...
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 Facebook is an American online social media and social networking service owned by Meta Platforms. Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, an ...
,
LinkedIn LinkedIn () is an American business- and employment-oriented online service that operates via websites and mobile apps. Launched on May 5, 2003, the platform is primarily used for professional networking and career development, and allows job se ...
) and academic oriented social networks (like
Mendeley Mendeley is a company based in London, UK, which provides products and services for academic researchers. It is most known for its reference manager which is used to manage and share research papers and generate bibliographies 250px, Bibliograp ...
,
Academia.edu Academia.edu is an American commercial social networking A social networking service (also social networking site or social media) is an online platform which people use to build social networks or social relationships with other people who ...
).


See also

*
Academic conference An academic conference or scientific conference (also symposium, workshop, or meeting) is an event Event may refer to: Gatherings of people * Ceremony A ceremony (, ) is a unified ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestu ...
s *
List of learned societies This is a partial list of learned societies, grouped by country. International *Association for Computing Machinery The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is a US-based international learned society for computing. It was founded in 1947 ...
*
National academy#REDIRECT National academy A national academy is an organizational body, usually operating with state financial support and approval, that co-ordinates scholarly research Research is "creativity, creative and systematic work undertaken to i ...
*
Professional association A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or professional society) usually seeks to further Further or Furthur may refer to: *Furthur (bus), ''Furthur'' (bus), the Merry Pranksters' psychedelic bus ...
*
Text publication society A text publication society is a learned society which publishes (either as its sole function, or as a principal function) scholarly editions of old works of historical or literary interest, or archival documents. In addition to full texts, a text p ...


References


External links


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 {{Authority control Scientific organizations