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Since its founding in 1887, the American Physiological Society and its members have generated a huge body of physiological knowledge. Initially, these discoveries were presented at scientific meetings, the reason for the Society’s founding. The formation of the Congress of American Physicians and Surgeons, designed as an alternative to the large and politicized meetings of the American Medical Association and intended to promote medical research, served as the trigger for the founding of APS. Unless physiology was established as a national society, the discipline would not be represented at the first congress, scheduled for 1888. The APS was the only basic science society to join the group, underscoring the close affiliation of physiology with clinical medicine that continues to this day.
The founding of APS at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University in New York City is credited to S. Weir Mitchell, Henry Pickering Bowditch, Henry Newell Martin, Russell H. Chittenden, and John Green Curtis. An additional twenty-three colleagues joined them as original members when the Society was founded in December 1887. Bowditch was elected as the first President at the founding meeting. The APS was unusual in that it required its members to have conducted and published original research in physiology, the first professional society in the United States to do so. Since the American Journal of Physiology (AJP) was not established until 1898, the requirement was fulfilled by the publication of a paper in the journal of our sister society, The Physiological Society. Since its founding by William Townsend Porter, the Society’s journal program has greatly expanded to include:
American Journal of Physiology (AJP) (founded 1898). Since 1977, the AJP has been published in both a consolidated edition and as the following individual journals addressing these focused research areas:
- AJP-Cell Physiology (Founded 1977)
- AJP-Heart and Circulatory Physiology (Founded 1977)
- AJP-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology (Founded 1977)
- AJP-Renal Physiology (Founded 1977)
- AJP-Endocrinology and Metabolism (Founded 1977)
- AJP-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology (Founded 1980)
- AJP-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology (Founded 1989)
- Physiological Reviews (Founded 1921)
- Journal of Neurophysiology (Founded 1938)
- Journal of Applied Physiology (Founded 1948)
- Physiology (Founded 1986)
- Advances in Physiology Education (Founded 1989)
- Physiological Genomics (Founded 1999)
In recognition of the Society’s 125th anniversary, and in acknowledgment of the critical role played by the APS journals in the Society’s legacy, Thomson Reuters, which produces the Journal Citation Reports database, including journal Impact Factors, was asked to identify the most highly cited articles since 1900. The Society therefore presents here the top ten cited articles for each of our journals for the following time periods: 1900-1924; 1925-1949; 1950-1959; 1960-1969; 1970-1979; 1980-1989; 1990-1999; and 2000-2011.
The Society is pleased to share these articles with our membership, readership and the public. Each article is freely available on the journal website.