Acta Eruditorum

Acta Eruditorum (Latin for "reports/acts of the scholars") was the first scientific journal of the German lands, published from 1682 to 1782.

It was founded in 1682 in Leipzig by Otto Mencke, who became its first editor, and Gottfried Leibniz. It was published by Johann Friedrich Gleditsch, and patterned after the French Journal des savants and Italian Giornale de'letterati. Acta Eruditorum was a monthly edited in Latin language and contained excerpts from new writings, reviews, small essays and notes. Most of them were devoted to the natural sciences and mathematics. Since its inception many eminent scientists published there – apart from Leibniz, e.g., Jakob Bernoulli, Humphry Ditton, Leonhard Euler, Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus, Pierre-Simon Laplace and Jérôme Lalande but also humanists and philosophers as Veit Ludwig von Seckendorff, Stephan Bergler, Christian Thomasius and Christian Wolff.

Although Mencke once exchanged letters and publications with Isaac Newton, Newton was not a correspondent of Acta'. The dispute between Newton and Leibniz about the discovery of differential calculus started with a contribution by Leibniz to the May 1697 issue of Acta Eruditorum, in response to which Fatio de Duillier, feeling slighted by being omitted from Leibniz's list of the best mathematicians of Europe, announced that Newton had discovered calculus before Leibniz and the last had probably even relied on Newton's achievements. In the following acrimonious squabble, Acta by and large acted as a mouthpiece for Leibniz's camp, much as Transactions of the Royal Society did for Newton's. Mencke tried to tone down the dispute, but rebuttals from both sides were too forceful. "Where Mencke was powerless to call the tune, he did his utmost at least to set the tone," says H. Laeven in his description of the row. This dispute also influenced Acta to express the feelings of national cohesion and defining German scholarship within the international field of influence.

After Otto Mencke's death Acta Eruditorum were directed by his son, Johann Burckhardt Mencke, who died in 1732. The magazine changed its name by then and was called Nova Acta Eruditorum. Since 1754 it was led by Karl Andreas Bel.