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Yellowed pages from academia

USP portal offers the complete collection of some of the earliest scientific journals published by its schools

The Law School located in São Francisco Square

Public Domain Arcadas – História da Faculdade de Direito do Largo de São FranciscoThe Law School located in São Francisco SquarePublic Domain Arcadas – História da Faculdade de Direito do Largo de São Francisco

In November 2013, the Journals Portal of the University of São Paulo (USP) published the complete online collection of some of the earliest science periodicals published by USP’s schools and institutes. The oldest titles date back to the late 19th or early 20th century; a number of these were launched by academic centers that predated the establishment of USP in 1934 and were incorporated into the university on that occasion. At www.revistas.usp.br, users can access every issue of journals like Revista da Faculdade de Direito de São Paulo (Journal of the São Paulo School of Law); this periodical, which is the oldest in the collection, premiered in 1893 and is still alive today. Another example is the School of Medicine’s Revista de Medicina (Journal of Medicine), launched in 1916 and likewise still in print.

The full texts of some titles that appeared after the creation of USP are also now available through the site. This is the case, for instance, of the Boletim de Botânica (Botany Bulletin), first published in 1937 when botany was a field within the former School of Philosophy, Science, and Letters (FFCL), which is now the School of Philosophy, Letters, and the Humanities (FFLCH). Another in this category is the Revista de História (Journal of History), published since 1950 by the Department of History. Both of these periodicals are still being published today.

Cover of the first issue of the Revista da Faculdade de Direito de São Paulo, a journal that appeared in 1893 at the Arcades (illustration), which was the popular name for the Law School located in São Francisco Square

ReproductionsCover of the first issue of the Revista da Faculdade de Direito de São Paulo, a journal that appeared in 1893 at the Arcades, which was the popular name for the Law School located in São Francisco SquareReproductions

“Our idea is to gather together in one place the entire collection of scientific journals ever published by the university, in open-access format,” says André Serradas, head of the division of USP’s Integrated Library System (SIBi-UPS) that provides support in the accreditation of journals. “We will be a research source for historians of science who are interested in the scientific production of the university from its earliest days, as well as for whoever wants to keep abreast of its latest work.” In some cases, a title is available at one internet address for a certain timeframe of publication, while the rest is located elsewhere or may not even be available in digital form. By assembling all the issues of a journal at one single site, the university’s initiative will make searches easier. The five-year-old portal currently offers the entire archives of over 100 journals and 50,000 documents. The goal is to digitize about 500 journals.

Some of the journals have changed names, or even profiles, over the years. In such cases, those responsible for the portal have decided to publish each phase of a given scientific journal separately on the USP site, but always with the information that the new title is basically a continuation of the old.

Current FMUSP facilities inauguration

ReproductionCurrent FMUSP facilities inaugurationReproduction

Among publications in the field of veterinary medicine, for instance, the portal lists three journals whose histories are closely intertwined: Revista da Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária (Journal of the School of Veterinary Medicine), which appeared in 1938 and went by the same name until 1972; the Revista da Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia (Journal of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science), a new designation for the same periodical, in use from 1972 to 1990; and, lastly, Brazilian Journal of Veterinary Research and Animal Science, an English-language title that was adopted in 1990 to raise the journal’s international profile. This was likewise the case with the journal published nearly 70 years ago by the Luiz de Queiroz School of Agriculture (Esalq), in Piracicaba. The periodical initially appeared in 1944 under the title Anais da Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (Annals of the Luiz de Queiroz School of Agriculture) but in 1992 was rechristened Scientia Agricola (Agricultural Science).

“Online access to these journals really facilitates our work,” says historian Andre Mota, coordinator of the Prof. Carlos da Silva Lacaz Historical Museum at the USP School of Medicine (FMUSP). “It will be a wonderful tool for stimulating new research.” During his doctoral research, Mota studied the birth of the Revista de Medicina, which publishes student scholarship. During his post-doctoral work, part of his research was based on O Bisturi (The Scalpel), a student periodical with a lighter tone, published by the FMUSP student center starting in 1930, with some periods of interruption.

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