Comptes rendus de l'Académie des Sciences

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Comptes rendus de l'Académie des Sciences (English: Proceedings of the Academy of sciences), or simply Comptes rendus, is a French scientific journal which has been published since 1835. It is the proceedings of the French Academy of Sciences. It is currently split into seven sections, published on behalf of the Academy by Elsevier: Mathématique, Mécanique, Physique, Géoscience, Palévol, Chimie, and Biologies.

Comptes rendus de l'Académie des Sciences  
LanguageEnglish, French
Publication details
Elsevier of behalf of the French Academy of Sciences (France)
Standard abbreviations
ISO 4C. R. Acad. Sci.
MathSciNetC. R. Math. Acad. Sci. Paris

Naming historyEdit

The journal has had a complicated naming history, with several name changes and splits over the years.


Comptes rendus was initially established in 1835 as Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l'Académie des Sciences. It began as an alternative publication pathway for more prompt publication than the Mémoires de l'Académie des Sciences, which had been published since 1666. The Mémoires, which continued to be published alongside the Comptes rendus throughout the nineteenth century, had a publication cycle which resulted in memoirs being published years after they had been presented to the Academy. Some academicians continued to prefer publishing in the Mémoires because of the strict page limits in the Comptes rendus.[1]


After 1965 this title was split into five sections:

  • Série A (Sciences mathématiques) – mathematics
  • Série B (Sciences physiques) – physics and geosciences
  • Série C (Sciences chimiques) – chemistry
  • Série D (Sciences naturelles) – life sciences
  • Vie académique – academy notices and miscellanea (between 1968 and 1970, and again between 1979 and 1983)

Series A and B were published together in one volume except in 1974.


The areas were rearranged as follows:

  • Série I - (Sciences Mathématiques) - mathematics
  • Série II (Mécanique-physique, Chimie, Sciences de l'univers, Sciences de la Terre) - physics, chemistry, astronomy and geosciences
  • Série III - (Sciences de la vie) - life sciences
  • Vie académique – academy notices and miscellanea (the last 3 volumes of the second edition, between 1981 and 1983)
  • Vie des sciences – A renamed Vie académique (from 1984 to 1996)


These publications remained the same:

  • Série I (Sciences mathématiques) – mathematics
  • Série III (Sciences de la Vie) – life sciences
  • Vie des sciences – A renamed Vie académique (until 1996)

The areas published in Série II were slowly split into other publications in ways that caused some confusion.

In 1994, Série II, which covered physics, chemistry, astronomy and geosciences, was replaced by Série IIA, exclusive to geosciences, and Série IIb, dedicated to chemistry, astronomy and the now-distinct mechanics and physics.

In 1998, Série IIB covered mechanics, physics and astronomy, as chemistry had now its own publication, Série IIC.

In 2000, Série IIB became dedicated exclusively to mechanics, whereas astronomy was redefined as astrophysics and, along with physics, was now being covered by the new Série IV. The latter began publishing in March, however Séries IIB published two more issues, in April and May, still containing material on physics and astrophysics, before starting a new run (under the same title) also in May dedicated solely to mechanics.

2002 onwardsEdit

The present naming and subject assignment was established in 2002:

  • Comptes Rendus Biologies – life sciences except paleontology and evolutionary biology. Continues in part Series IIC (biochemistry) and III.
  • Comptes Rendus Chimie – chemistry. Continues in part Series IIC.
  • Comptes Rendus Géoscience – geosciences. Continues in part Series IIA.
  • Comptes Rendus Mathématique – mathematics. Continues Series I.
  • Comptes Rendus Mécanique – mechanics. Continues Series IIB.
  • Comptes Rendus Palévol – paleontology and evolutionary biology. Continues in part Series IIA and III.
  • Comptes Rendus Physique – topical issues in physics (mainly optics, astrophysics and particle physics). Continues Series IV.

Online open archivesEdit

The entirety of Comptes rendus de l'Académie des Sciences publications from its start in 1835 all the way to 1996 have been scanned and undergone character recognition, and are available at the site of the France National Library[2] as part of its free online library and archive of other historical documents and works of art, Gallica.[3]

Besides occasional flaws in the character recognition which might hinder text searches, it's worth pointing out that the files of Comptes rendus de l'Académie des Sciences archives are strewn about the site in a quite disorganized manner. Some volumes are presented as one year's worth of collected material, some as individual issues, and some issues are grouped together for no particular reason. Some parts are broken up by each study instead of issue or volume, some parts are incorrectly tagged, occasionally some issues will be filed as having come before later ones, and so on. Yet it seems that the entire back archives of these publications are indeed present, so researchers unaware of this might miss valuable information. It would be a good idea to see all of a year's releases at the same time -- in the "Issue by Date" tab, below the month's calendar, there's a link for that. The links presented here seem to cover the entire available archive of all the scientific publications associated with Comptes rendus de l'Académie des Sciences, and corrections to any flaws found here are welcome.

All publications from 1997 forwards are published commercially by Elsevier.[4]


  1. ^ Crosland, Maurice (1992). Science Under Control: The French Academy of Sciences, 1795-1914. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 283–284. ISBN 978-0521413732.
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External linksEdit