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Science Editing > Volume 3(2); 2016 > Article
Koh: Editing and publishing activities of the Korean Physical Society during the first fifty years since its inauguration in 1952


This is a historical review concerning the development of the editing and publishing activities of the Korean Physical Society, unique in its kind in South Korea, during its first fifty years since inauguration. It was founded in 1952, in the midst of the Korean War, and issued its first publication only in 1961. Despite such a late start, the society made great efforts to boost its activities thereafter, developing five different periodicals, including two Science Citation Index-listed journals, established by 2002. It can be seen as a remarkable success story of the Korean physics community, having overcome many hardships, which included the meager human and material resources that it started with and also the social unrest and destruction owing to the Korean War and its aftermath. The development and progress of the Korean Physical Society during this period, with a main focus on its editing and publishing practices, are briefly described.


At the time when Korea was liberated from Japanese rule in 1945, the Korean physics community, if it existed at all, was in an isolated or very primitive state. There was only a small group of Korean physicists with Bachelor’s degrees and very few with Doctorate degrees, who had been mostly teaching at middle and high schools or private junior colleges. Division of the country in two—namely, North and South Koreas—by the allied forces at the end of World War II, brought severe political, social, and ideological chaos. This resulted in a further reduction, almost by half, of South Korean physicists’ manpower, due to those who joined the North. The only research institution with a physics program that had existed in Korea before its liberation, Keijo Imperial University, had been entirely staffed by Japanese scholars, who were repatriated to Japan as soon as the War ended, leaving it completely vacant. Thus, when the US Military Government reopened the institution, renaming it Seoul University, it could hardly find enough qualified Korean physicists who might be able to fill those vacancies.
Due to such problems, it was not until 1952 that the Korean Physical Society (KPS) could be inaugurated, in the midst of the Korean War, which broke out in June 1950. But, because of the lack of necessary resources, it could hardly perform any meaningful activities for some time. After the Korean War culminated in the ceasefire of 1953, the activities of the Korean physics community gradually gathered momentum and KPS could issue its first official publication in a half–bulletin, half–lecture notes format in 1961. However, as many foreigntrained Korean physicists returned to work in the newly opened institutions supported by the Military Government, the publications of KPS steadily improved both in quality and quantity. By 2002, its 50th anniversary of formation, KPS had in publication five different world-class periodicals, including two Science Citation Index (SCI)-listed journals.
We will begin with a brief overview of the development of KPS, and then look at its progress in editing and publishing practices in more detail. Most of the historical events and works of KPS mentioned here were based on the book 50-Year history of the Korean Physical Society, published on December 31, 2002 by KPS.

Brief History of the KPS, Focused on Publishing

The inauguration of KPS took place in December 1952 in Busan city, then the temporary capital of South Korea, with Seoul, its capital, being occupied by the North Korean Army. A total of 34 physicists, mostly of refugee status, gathered and formed the Society under the leadership of Dr. Kyu Nam Choi (Fig. 1), formerly professor of Physics of Seoul National University and then serving as the Seoul National University president. Dr. Choi emphasized to his audiences the obligation of Korean physicists to contribute to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the war-torn nation through academic advancement and mutual collaboration. The assembly elected Dr. Choi as the first KPS President, together with Dr. Chul Jae Park, professor of Physics at Seoul National University, as the KPS vice president. A nine-member executive committee in charge of general, financial, and editorial affairs as a group was also formed. The meeting agreed to hold a KPS general assembly annually, as well as symposia on current topics, and to make effort towards issuing its own publication—namely, a journal—as soon as possible.
The 2nd KPS general assembly was held in the following year, 1953, again in Busan, and a symposium on X-ray diffraction was led by KPS vice president Dr. Chul Jae Park (Fig. 2), who had worked at Kyoto University on the subject before his return to Korea. When the armistice was signed between the UN Forces and North Korea in late 1953, the KPS office moved to Seoul as originally contemplated, together with most of its members, who found upon their return that their houses, schools and laboratories had suffered enormous war damages. With peace restored, many physicists could take the opportunity to study abroad and, for a time, KPS executive positions had to be left vacant. This further decreased KPS activity. Meanwhile, KPS joined UNESCO, counting 35 members in April 1954.
The consequent KPS meetings, from the 3rd to the 6th meeting held in Seoul in the 1960s, were able to attract more members to lectures given on various current topics. At the 6th meeting, KPS changed its leadership by electing Prof. Yong Dae Kwun of Seoul National University (Fig. 3) as its second KPS president and by introducing an administrative structure with four executive secretaries in charge of general, financial, external, and editorial affairs, respectively. The new team made an all-out effort to have its first official publication see light, and finally, in 1961, KPS succeeded in issuing Sae-Mulli (New Physics), containing five review papers and KPS bulletin boards. In the forward address given in Sae-Mulli vol. 1, no. 1 (1961) (Fig. 4), KPS president Kwun expressed his utmost gratitude to see the first KPS publication made possible, overcoming tremendous shortcomings in finances and human resources that the Society had faced. He also expressed his deep regret, however, for not yet having been able to make Sae-Mulli a real physics journal in its first issue, ending up with a half–bulletin, half–review volume, and he strongly urged and encouraged fellow KPS members to contribute research papers so that the following volumes could constitute a real, professional journal.
His call was answered in Sae-Mulli vol. 2, no. 1 (1962), which published seven contributed research papers together with eight review articles. However, the financial challenge that faced KPS in those days was so serious that the editorial secretary was obliged to express his deep gratitude to many members who contributed to support the work. Apparently, KPS could not operate solely with its tiny membership fees. Thus, its elected officers were required to make an all-out effort to meet its financial needs by raising contributions from friends in industry or in commercial sectors. In fact, KPS could not even find accommodation in a fixed office for a long time, such that the KPS address was shifted among the institutions to which the various general secretaries belonged. The editorial secretary, who had to work very hard to obtain enough contributing or review articles for print, could not afford to employ anyone for help with matters such as editing, communicating, and often commuting to the printing companies, and was required to oblige his graduate students. In those days, the infrastructure of communication and public transportation was not very well developed in Seoul.
KPS was able to overcome those challenges to continue its upward progress, as the number of returning foreign-trained physicists increased. From 1964, KPS started holding its general assembly twice annually—namely, a Spring Assembly in Seoul (attended by 154 in 1964), and a Fall Assembly in Kwangju, a local city chosen for that year (attended by 92 members). Accordingly, the number of articles published in Sae-Mulli also increased, so that its semi-annual publication schedule during 1962-1966 had to be changed to triannual issues in 1967. To meet this greater demand, KPS, from the year 1968, decided to publish another journal in addition to Sae-Mulli, the Journal of the Korean Physical Society (JKPS, Fig. 5). The articles of this journal were to contain original research and to be written in an international language—English, French, German, or Spanish—while Sae-Mulli, mainly in the Korean language, would contain review and original articles alike. In 1968, KPS published two JKPS issues with a total of 14 original research articles and four Short Notes, together with two volumes of Sae-Mulli containing eight original and 11 review articles in total.
The publication of JKPS in international languages—mostly in English, in the event—greatly enhanced the status of KPS by attracting authorship and readership beyond national borders. Its editorial board was enlarged to include some prominent foreign scholars and it added a board member specialized in English-language editing. Thus, KPS was able to become a member of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics in 1970. In the same year, KPS labored to organize a North American branch, with 800 members comprising Korean physicists staying in the US and Canada, including 250 university faculty members, and tried to maintain close relationships with them as well as gain their cooperation. KPS also made a series of efforts to obtain international recognition, for example by hosting the International Conference on Group Theoretical Methods in Physics in 1985, attended by 273 participants from 27 countries, and the 4th Association of Asia-Pacific Physics Societies Conference in 1990, both held in Seoul under the auspices of KPS.
In 1992 the journal of KPS, JKPS, was officially recognized by the Institute for Science Information (ISI) (Fig. 6). And, beginning with JKPS vol. 25, no. 1 (1992), JKPS was indexed in Current Contents/Physical, Chemical & Earth Sciences, Science Citation Index, and SCI Search and Research. In 1995, KPS, to make itself more internationally friendly, lifted the restriction on authorship to KPS members and opened its publication to physicists worldwide. Furthermore, JKPS was allowed to include the proceedings of the international symposia held in Korea, partially in order to have enough material to make it a monthly publication.
The promotion and expansion of the human and financial resources of KPS during its early years is also notable. The membership count in 1962, at the 10th anniversary of its inauguration, was only 240; but in its 20th year (1972), this increased to 1193; in its 30th year (1982), to 1857; in its 40th year (1992), to 4051; and in its 50th year (2002), it recorded 8902 members, a 261-fold increase in membership over 50 years, as shown in Fig. 7. KPS recruited many secondary school physics teachers for its membership and had them participate in the symposia and publish papers in Sae-Mulli (later, in Mulli Kyoyuk, the 3rd journal of KPS, which was initiated in 1982).
The financial scale of KPS was also gradually increased. The annual budget in 1962 amounted to 146,000 Korean won (KRW), whereas it reached 500 million KRW in 2002, a 3,400-fold increase in 40 years (Fig. 8). The raising of its membership fees (200 KRW in 1962 to 40,000 KRW in 2002, a 200-fold raise) and publication charges partially eased its financial challenges, but fundraising campaigns had to be continued. It also cultivated its own income sources from time to time, derived mainly from its members’ donated works. For example, it acquired and maintained the copyright of the general physics laboratory course textbook, authored by volunteering members and adopted by most of the universities and colleges in Korea, and also of the PSSC translation, used widely among high schools for a time. The work of the KPS Physics Terminology Committee, organized in 1955 and subsidized annually until 1975 by the Ministry of Education, which published textbooks for elementary and middle schools, also helped KPS financially. With its improved financial situation, KPS, in 1976, was able to purchase an office space (132 m2) in the Science & Technology Building at 635 Yeuksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, and had its permanent address stationed there.
In 1988, KPS started publishing an additional, 4th journal, named Current Applied Physics (CAP) (Fig. 9) to meet the increasing demand from applied-physicist members and also to alleviate the concerns of some separationist movements seeking to organize an independent Applied Physics Society, as in Japan. The journal initially started with three volumes annually, in the Korean language, but from 1989 it became a quarterly publication. KPS made a concerted effort, to be explained in more detail later, to promote CAP to the international level; this was finally rewarded in 2002, following JKPS, by its indexing in SCI-Extended, Web of Science, Materials Science Citation Index, Current Contents/Physical, Chemical & Earth Sciences, and Research Alert (Fig. 10). Thus, KPS, within 50 years of its inauguration, became the publisher of two SCI-listed journals, CAP and JKPS, the latter with a fairly high impact factor (0.526 in 2000).
In 1992, with its 40th anniversary, KPS began to issue its 5th publication, a magazine named Physics & High Technology, as a kind of academic science magazine with an aim similar to that of Physics Today of the American Physical Society (Fig. 11). With its first volume, then KPS president Dr. Juchon Lee pointed out that its aim was to help enhance research communication between physics and related fields, including material and electronic sciences, and to stimulate collaboration between academic and industrial sectors by informing readers promptly and accurately of the trends and developments in current research work in such related fields. He also expressed his hope that, through this magazine, new concepts in physics could be better appreciated and assimilated by industrial sectors.
In summary, KPS started from a very humble state of affairs, but it was able to build a solid foundation during its first 50 years, from 1952 to 2002. It became a world-class academic society with nearly ten thousand members, issuing five internationally recognized regular publications. This could only be realized by its dedicated group of hardworking physicists, whose sacrifice was truly laudable. Fig. 12 shows the number of articles published in Sae-Mulli, JKPS, Mulli Kyoyuk, and CAP, respectively, during this period.

Editing and Publishing of the KPS

Sae-Mulli publication in the early days (1962-1967)

As stated earlier, the first publication of KPS, Sae-Mulli, came out in 1961, nine years after the society’s inauguration. Its first volume contained five review articles and physics community news. The editorial secretary (editor), Dr. Chul-soo Kim, who must have faced some challenges in producing this humble product, expressed vividly in the Editor’s Note how hard he had worked trying to obtain the manuscripts, contacting many friends and colleagues overseas. He then expressed his whole-hearted thanks to the authors of the five review articles. The editor alone held all responsibility for the publication, since the editorial board was not officially formed until February 1965. His effort was well rewarded, as in the second volume, Sae-Mulli vol. 2, no. 1 (1962), it became possible to have seven contributed papers with eight review articles. In this volume, KPS set temporary guidelines in regard to the contents of Sae-Mulli, as follows: 1) Contributed research papers with 30 pages of manuscript paper and with 3 pages of abstract. 2) Review articles with less than 30 pages of manuscript paper. 3) Introductions to current trends and information about the international physics research community. 4) Domestic physics community news, including departmental and institutional activities, personnel appointments, new publications, and new facilities acquired.
This volume had a printed list of the current KPS members, showing a total of 180 members, including 40 absentees who were abroad for study. Then the following volume, vol. 2, no. 2 (1962) listed 32 newly elected KPS fellows who were given more responsibility for the society.
The format of the manuscript was not formalized for several years, and the “Instructions to the authors of Sae-Mulli” appeared for the first time only in vol. 3, no. 2 (1963). The instructions read:
  • 1) Manuscripts can be accepted only from members or honorary members of KPS. However, non-members may be included as co-authors.

  • 2) The manuscript should be submitted to the editor of KPS, and its acceptance for publication is to be judged by the review committee appointed by the KPS president upon recommendation of the executive committee.

  • 3) The review committee can request revisions or corrections to accepted papers.

  • 4) The length of the manuscript should be less than or equal to 50 pages of Wongoji (traditional manuscript paper drawn with 200 squares).

  • 5) The manuscript should be written in Korean, possibly mixed with Chinese characters.

  • 6) A typewritten abstract in English, with 100-200 words, should be attached.

  • 7) Figures in the manuscript should be neatly drawn with ink-brush on tracing paper 25 cm× 18 cm in size and attached in a separate file. It is advised to draw the lines of the figure in bold face, for possible contraction in printing.

  • 8) The numbering and caption of figures should be clearly indicated and quoted in the main text.

  • 9) References should be added at the end of the manuscript in the following order: author’s name, journal title, volume, page, and year, such as M.J. Stephen, Phys. Rev., 123, 126 (1961).

  • 10) Units and proper names should be written in their original languages.

  • 11) Actual cost for the photograph will be charged to the author.

  • 12) Authors of accepted and printed contributing papers must pay the publication charge as set by KPS, and will receive 20 free reprint copies.

  • 13) Selection of review articles, their subjects, and authors should be made by the editor upon consultation with the KPS executive committee.

  • 14) Review articles should follow the same format as contributing papers, but without abstracts.

Among the above instructions it should be noted that manuscript papers were used as a measure for the length of manuscripts. They had been traditionally used for oriental languages by filling each of 200 squares (drawn on each page) with independent characters, but they were quite inappropriate for other languages, and more so for mathematical equations. It seemed that this was unavoidable in those days due to arrangements with the printing facilities available. Similar instructions can be found in other scientific societies, including the Korean Chemical Society (c.f. Science Editing 2015;2(1);3-9). It should be recalled that the typewriter for the Korean alphabet, Hangul, had not been invented yet.
The publication charge policy for contributing papers, formally adopted from Sae-Mulli vol. 4, no. 2 (1964), was 50 KRW/page for that volume and 100 KRW/page (a 100% increase) for vol. 5, no. 1 (1965). It seems apparent that KPS gradually raised publication charges as more contributing papers were received.
From vol. 5, no. 1 (1965), KPS started accepting papers for Sae-Mulli in the English language as well, changing its language policy, under the condition that the extra cost for English editing be charged to the author. Also announced was a raise of the publication charges to 150 KRW/page for English, 50% more than for Korean. Then, from the following vol. 5, no. 2 (1965), the publication charges were doubled, to 200 KRW/page for Korean and 300 KRW/page for English.
In 1965, KPS introduced the KPS editorial committee (board), in addition to the existing executive committee. The committee of six members plus one editor (an editorial secretary who served in the executive committee as well) was formed and elected by the KPS Fellow Meeting and placed in charge of editorial business, including the selection of review committee members for each contributed paper. Each member was to serve a three-year term, with two members elected or reelected every year to maintain its continuity. This somewhat reduced the heavy burden on the editorial secretary, and also set priorities for the editorial work of the Society.

Sae-Mulli, JKPS, and Mulli Kyoyuk (1967-1987)

As explained earlier, in 1967 KPS decided to publish a new journal, JKPS, in addition to the existing Sae-Mulli, and it changed and expanded its editorial policy. The important changes were as follows:

For Sae-Mulli

  • 1) Language to be used: Korean, possibly mixed with Chinese characters, but English also permissible with an additional editing charge to the author.

  • 2) Contents: Review articles, abstracts of the articles or Short Notes printed in JKPS, the abstracts of lectures or papers presented at the KPS general assembly meetings or symposia, contributed papers in the field of physics education, reports on KPS activities, physics community news, and paid advertisements.

  • 3) 50 KRW/page to be awarded to the authors of printed review articles.

  • 4) Two copies of the manuscript should be submitted for contributing articles, with the abstracts in English attached.


  • 1) Language: An international language—namely, English, French, German, or Spanish—but the title in English.

  • 2) Contents: Research papers with originality or Short Notes, reporting unfinished research work.

  • 3) Publication charge: 400 KRW/page or 3.00 US dollars/page up to 10 pages, but 800 KRW/page or 6.00 US dollars/page for exceeding 10 pages; authors to receive 20 free copies of reprint.

  • 4) Three copies of the manuscript should be submitted for contributing articles and Short Notes, together with the abstracts in English of 50 to 150 words.

We note the change in measure for the length of the manuscript from the Wongoji (traditional manuscript paper) page to printed or typewritten pages, indicating that the Korean Hangul typewriter was in prevailing use. Following this new policy, the KPS issued two volumes each of Sae-Mulli and JKPS for the year 1967. Then the Editorial Committee (Board) was enlarged to have two editorial secretaries or editors, one assigned to Sae-Mulli and the other to JKPS, and also to have two more board members added. The chairman of the editorial committee (later called the Editor-in-Chief), elected from among the committee members, was elevated to become one of the two vice presidents of KPS.
With the activities of KPS expanding, KPS issued special volumes of Sae-Mulli—namely the supplement to Sae-Mulli—from time to time, including memorials to the leading Korean physicists who had contributed much to KPS or to the world physics community. The first issue, Sae-Mulli vol. 7, no. 2 (1967), was dedicated to Dr. Yong-son Jin, the elementary particle theorist of Brown University. The other issues included Sae-Mulli vol. 15, no. 3 (1975), which reported on the symposium on solid state physics, held in the previous year, and Sae-Mulli vol. 16, no. 3 (1976), which contained the report on the symposium for physics education, held in 1975. The Editorial Committee continued to publish special issues—namely, Sae-Mulli vol. 16, no. 4 (1977) on “Physics and the related sciences” and vol. 21, no. 4 (1981) reporting on the workshops in Elementary Particle Physics held in that year.
KPS had placed the physics education field in high priority from the beginning. The society thus invited high school teachers for authorship as well as for membership, and allocated enough space in the regular issues of Sae-Mulli to this field. It even tried to introduce a separate journal for the field in 1982. KPS thus decided to have an additional journal published, named Mulli Kyoyuk (Physics Teaching) (Fig. 13). Since then, the Society continued its publication of one or two volumes per year until 1999, when it was integrated into Sae-Mulli, which was to include contributing articles in physics education.
Since KPS started publishing JKPS in addition to Sae-Mulli in 1968, the editorial board faced less difficulty in obtaining materials to print, and the number of published articles gradually increased, as shown in Fig. 8. JKPS maintained its biannual publication policy until 1982, and from 1983 to 1990, changed to a quarterly publication, and then from 1991 to a regular bimonthly publication. This owed much to increasing research activities within Korea, thanks to expanded research grants from government sources, and also to the increase in international research collaboration. In the meantime, KPS (in 1974) could afford to hire staff for editing, as a part-time position for a year, and then as full-time later. This greatly helped in reducing the burden on the editors as well as on their graduate students, and this also contributed to the greater professional appearance of KPS publications.
Sae-Mulli also maintained its quarterly publication for regular issues, besides the above-mentioned irregular supplement issues. The Editorial Board must have worked very hard to obtain enough review articles and additional research papers, mostly in physics education. In 1986, Sae-Mulli was finally made a bimonthly publication.

Current Applied Physics and the magazine Physics & High Technology added to Sae-Mulli, Mulli Kyoyuk and JKPS (1988-2002)

KPS added, in 1988, another new publication, CAP, to meet the increase in contributing papers and also to accommodate the expanding scope of so-called applied physics. Initially named “Ungyong Mulli”, meaning applied physics, it was changed to “Applied Physics Review” in 1997, and to CAP in 1999. Accordingly, it changed the structure of its editorial board, adding one more editorial secretary (the CAP editor), making three in total, and also adding three more board members, for a total of eleven members. CAP started in the Korean language, like Sae-Mulli and Mulli Kyoyuk. Although KPS aimed to make it a quarterly publication, only three volumes could be issued in the first year. But from the following year on, it fulfilled its expectations.
In 1988, KPS also started seeking more international recognition for JKPS, especially from the ISI. The editorial board made an all-out effort to upgrade JKPS in quality and quantity by inviting prominent foreign physicists to be JKPS authors, by printing the proceedings of international symposia, held in Seoul and with the participation of world-renowned scholars, by including three overseas members on the editorial board, and by issuing its bimonthly publication punctually. After several trials, KPS succeeded, and from JKPS vol. 25, no. 1 (1992), JKPS was included in the SCI, as stated earlier.
The KPS editorial board, elevated by the ISI recognition of JKPS, then started improving CAP to also meet ISI standards. In 1997, KPS formed a special task force for CAP, which recommended first to change its language, from Korean to English. In 1999, the CAP editorial board was expanded, inviting two Nobel laureates (A. J. Heager of USA and H. Shirakawa of Japan) to join the 20-member CAP international advisory board and also to have them participate in refereeing submitted papers. Thus, the first English version of CAP, vol. 1, no. 1, (2001) appeared as an international journal, including the papers by two Nobel laureates (J. R. Schrieffer and H. Shirakawa) among others. KPS took another bold step for CAP by placing the Elsevier Science Publishing Company of the Netherlands in charge of its printing from the year 2001. All these efforts were rewarded in 2002 by the recognition of ISI for CAP, following JKPS, as reported earlier (Fig. 10).
When KPS started publishing a magazine, Physics & High Technology, beginning in 1992, it became necessary to form a separate editorial board for the magazine, to accommodate wider ranges of topics to be cultivated, quite different from the other journals. Thus the Magazine Editorial Board, consisting of 13 members with an editor, was formed independently from the existing Journal Editorial Board. The members were chosen from experts in broad fields of the sciences, including people from life and material sciences. The board selected special topics for each issue of the magazine. For example, the first issue examined high technology of today and the future, the second issue focused on science education, and the third volume on science policy, so that the magazine could serve as a kind of bridge between physics and related communities. Other topics in the magazine included new materials, energy, environment, nano-sciences and its technology, magnetism and magnetic materials, physics and sports, etc. They were presented together with reports on various international symposia and events. The committee members were regularly replaced to have newer and fresher topics discussed. As the magazine became popular, it also attracted more advertisements, and this helped KPS financially as well.
Since 1992, the KPS started developing an office automation system and journal management program, and in the following year of 1993, KPS formed a task force committee for this purpose and embarked on developing the KPS-TEX program for the publication of journals. As a result, KPS was able to successfully publish Sae-Mulli, JKPS, and CAP by utilizing a newly developed KPS-TEX program from 1995 onwards. A dedicated line (TI) was secured for online journal submission through e-mail and other means. An open-journal system for KPS was achieved in 1999 through the uploading of PDF files of JKPS articles to the Society homepage, and it has continued its effort in e-publishing and open-journal systems.
The KPS Journal Editorial Committee was reorganized in 1997 to have 17 members with five editors (one for each periodical), and it made a concerted effort to upgrade the publication under the editor-in-chief or editorial vice president. It contemplated making JKPS a monthly journal, Sae-Mulli and CAP bimonthly ones, and Mulli Kyoyuk a semi-annual publication journal, and was soon able to fulfill these goals. The committee also reshaped all editorial regulations, including the instructions to authors and the review procedures for each journal, some of which are shown in the appendices. the KPS editorial board updated the editorial regulations for each periodical in 1997. Journal of the Korean Physical Society-related regulations are listed in Appendices 1 and 2.

Miscellaneous publications of KPS

Besides the above-mentioned journals and magazine published in a regular manner, KPS issued many irregular publications. Some of them were titled as supplements to the existing journals, such as the supplement to Sae-Mulli, JKPS, and CAP. The other miscellaneous publications before the year 2002 can be summarized as follows: List of KPS Members (5 volumes), KPS Brochure (2 volumes), Benjamin W. Lee Memorial Lecture Series in Elementary Particle Physics (4 volumes), International Symposium on Condensed Matter Physics (5 volumes), Korea–China Symposium on Condensed Matter Physics (4 volumes), Korea Semiconductor Conference (4 volumes), Reports on the Physics Olympiad (6 volumes), KPS Bulletin (42 volumes), Physics Terminology (3 volumes), and other independent publications (18 volumes)


To summarize the publication activities of KPS, we present here the number of volumes and total pages, and the average number of articles published in journals and magazines during its first 50 years. Since Sae-Mulli was initiated in 1961, nine years later, the actual period of publication is 42 years.
Sae-Mulli: 18,235 pages in 201 volumes for 42 years, with an average of 13.3 articles/volume
JKPS: 18,925 pages in 167 volumes for 35 years, with an average of 19.0 articles/volume
Mulli Kyoyuk: 2,548 pages in 17 volumes for 18 years, with an average of 8.5 articles/volume
CAP: 7,267 pages in 63 volumes for 15 years, with an average of 17.9 articles/volume
Total for all KPS Journals: 46,975 pages in 462 volumes (on average, more than 1,100 pages/ year).
Magazine: 6,839 pages in 86 volumes for 11 years
In addition to the above regular periodicals, KPS published supplements to Sae-Mulli, JKPS, and CAP. These activities can be summarized as follows:
Supplements to Sae-Mulli: 7 volumes with a total of 8,568 pages and 126 articles
Supplements to JKPS: 36 volumes with a total of 8,418 pages and 1791 articles
Supplements to CAP: 5 volumes with a total of 439 pages and 86 articles (Subtotal: 48 volumes with a total of 17,425 pages and 2003 articles)
KPS reached a world-class level in its publication activity by 2002, having issued five periodicals, including two journals listed by the ISI. Its achievements and development during its first 50 years rank as a real success story, since it began from a very unfavorable state of affairs, the latest starter even among Korean science societies. For example, the Korean Chemical Society was inaugurated in 1946, six years before the KPS, and issued its first journal in 1949, 12 years earlier. KPS members and its teams of leadership should be highly praised for their resourceful and dedicated contributions to fulfilling their goals for societal advancement. Thus, one can expect KPS to continue its journey toward a brighter future befitting a world-leading physics organization.

Conflict of Interest

The author has been a member of KPS since 1964, and has participated in the society with many different roles, including editorial secretary, secretary general, vice-president, president (1988-1989), and as a member of the KPS Board of Directors. This article presents the author’s personal opinion, not an official opinion of KPS.


The author wishes to acknowledge the help received from Prof. Choon Kyu Lee who read the manuscript and gave valuable advice. He is also indebted to Ms. Hyun Jeung Kim of Seoul National University and Ms. Hyeun Joo Lee of KPS for their secretarial assistance.

Portrait of the late Dr. Kyu Nam Choi (1898-1992) the first president of the Korean Physical Society.

Fig. 1.

Portrait of the late Dr. Chul Jae Park (1905-1970) the first vice president of Korean Physical Society.

Fig. 2.

Portrait of the late Dr. Young Dae Kwun (1908-1985) the second president of Korean Physical Society, who served for ten years (1960-1970) as the president.

Fig. 3.

Cover page of Sae-Mulli vol. 1, no. 1 (1961).

Fig. 4.

Cover page of the Journal of the Korean Physical Society vol. 1, no. 1.

Fig. 5.

Institute for Science Information letter for Journal of the Korean Physical Society, dated November 23, 1992.

Fig. 6.

Chronological change in the number of Korean Physical Society members.

Fig. 7.

Chronological change in Korean Physical Society budget and closing account.

Fig. 8.

Cover page of Current Applied Physics, vol. 1, no. 1 (2001).

Fig. 9.

Institute for Science Information letter for Current Applied Physics, dated November 27, 2002.

Fig. 10.

Cover page of magazine, Physics & High Technology, March 1992.

Fig. 11.

Chronological change in the number of articles published by Korean Physical Society journals. Now, we will look into the editing and publishing practices of Korean Physical Society in more detail. JKPS, Journal of the Korean Physical Society; CAP, Current Applied Physics.

Fig. 12.

Cover page of Mulli Kyoyuk (Physics Teaching), vol. 1 no. 1 (1982).

Fig. 13.


Appendix 1.

Instructions to authors for publication in the Journal of the Korean Physical Society

Appendix 2.

Review Procedures for the Journal of the Korean Physical Society
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