Academies of Sciences and Public Research Institutions

The interest of learned institutions in historical scholarship reached back to the eighteenth century, and in the case of the French and Swedish royal academies even to the seventeenth. Since the Enlightenment, academies have made historical scholarship one of their preferred activities. They have begun to collect and edit sources, and they have promoted individual research and the writing of history books. After the institutional and intellectual turmoil of the revolutionary and Napoleonic years, academies were decisive institutional links between the older traditions of enlightened erudition and the new liberal and romantic interest in history. They invested a considerable part of their funds and their efforts in historical scholarship, mainly for the production of source editions. Their members included gentleman historians, archivists, librarians and professors, and they created an international network of scholars interested in the advancement of historical studies. In the 20th century academies continued to play an important role in historical research, particularly in the field of source editions of national importance. They grew much larger in the socialist countries where historical research and source editions were often concentrated in their history sections.

Data Collection

For this category the data collected and shown in the maps include only academies with history sections or with a large presence of historians and historical activities, as well as all public research institutions devoted exclusively or predominantly to historical sciences, or with a specific section for history.

Furthermore, under the category Historians the data for the years 1928, 1955, 1980 and 2005 encompass all directors, professors, and researchers in permanent positions of these research institutions or academies. Excluded are all positions which have only been established temporarily, e.g. in the context of specific short-term research projects.

Foto: Academy of Athens, Greece.

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