Nature archive

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The heritage of scientific research

Since launch in November 1869, Nature has published many of the most significant and influential papers in modern science. From research scientists to journalists, the Nature archive provides users with an authoritative narrative through scientific history.

New Content ItemFor 150 years Nature has published the most important
research in science. The research is mostly used for background information, methods and protocols, writing grant applications, essays and research papers as well as teaching tools for all academic levels, a reference resource for history of science and science in society courses.

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The paper that made all the difference

For 150 years Nature has published the most important research in science. Get every Nature article ever published with the added benefit of today’s technology – search easily through decades of groundbreaking research, and find key terms and link topics in seconds. Use original research towards tomorrow’s breakthroughs – follow the path of scientific discovery from its beginning, though its present and into the future. The Nature archive can be bought by collection as a one-time purchase, in individual years or a combination of these. Add these Nature archive sets to your library:


Nov. 1869 – Dec. 1949

Volumes 1-164: 4183 issues

First collection, a rich variety of material

The first collection of the Nature archive offers a rich variety of material; from original research to book reviews, scientific news, and reports of scientific society meetings. During this period the pages of Nature were home to many of the most significant scientific advances, such as the invention of the typewriter and telegraphs, the science behind and debate around nuclear weapons, the discovery of the neutron, and, in what may have been Nature’s very first special issue, a lively discussion on Einstein’s theory of relativity. 

New Content ItemUse of fingerprints as a way to identify criminals

Jan. 1950 – Dec. 1986

Volumes 165-324: 1915 issues

Rapid increase in scientific discovery

The post-war years saw a rapid increase in scientific discovery, particularly in the biological sciences. The structure of DNA was revealed to the world, and by the end of 1986 the first description of using fluorescence technology to automate DNA sequencing was published, eventually resulting in the human genome sequence. Startling confirmations in the physical sciences, including evidence of continental drift and the detection of a hole in the ozone layer, now fuel much of today’s climate change research - and key papers published in this collection continue to shape economic and political policies. 

New Content ItemWatson and Crick decipher the structure of DNA

Jan. 1987 – Dec. 1996

Volumes 325-384: 512 issues

Established scientific findings

The period covered by the third archive collection includes established scientific findings, such as remarkable advances in drug development and the search for other earth-like planets. In 1995 Mayor and Queloz of the Geneva Observatory, Switzerland, found ‘51 Pegasi b’, a large, Jupiter-sized planet orbiting a Sun-like star. Nearly two hundred extrasolar planets have since been found using the same technique. 

New Content ItemFirst discovery of a planet outside our solar system

Jan. 1997 – Dec. 2006

Volumes 385-445: 512 issues

Most groundbreaking research and discoveries

The final Nature archive collection is home to some of the most groundbreaking research and discoveries of the previous decade, including the first instance of successful cloning of a mammal, and the development of electrophoretic ink, used today in ebook readers. Huge steps forward in genetics were also made; the Human Genome Project mapped every part of the human DNA and a large portion of the results were published in Nature. The data from this project will allow researchers to continue to develop new and life saving technologies. 

New Content ItemCloning and birth of Dolly the sheep revealed

Research breakthrough videos

Preserve. Rediscover. Connect.

Researchers today are increasingly rediscovering the value of past research. Its value lies in informing and directing their current research activities. Tapping into the experience of previous generations of researchers can improve and accelerate research today. It’s clear that it is as relevant today as it ever was, and will continue to shape the future.

Make sure your users have access. Want to know how to add Nature archive sets to your library? Please contact our licensing team and let us know where we can help.

150 years of Nature

The first issue was published in November 1869. That makes 2019 the 150th anniversary year. The history mirrors how science and its role in society have changed over that time. Explore the collection that reflect the past, present and future.

10 facts about Nature

Archivist and in-house-historian, Alysoun Sanders, has been exploring the archive and discovered some interesting, fun and significant highlights that you may not have know about one of the oldest scientific journals in the world! 

Nature archive PastCast

Telling the stories behind some of the biggest papers. Each month for a year, the PastCast explored Nature's back catalogue, setting in context key moments in the history of science – and rooting out some of the quirkier reports from the journal.

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