Science and Civilisation in China is recognised as one of the most remarkable works of scholarship in the twentieth century. Originally proposed as a single volume of 600 to 800 pages, the project now encompasses seventeen books published under the direct supervision of Joseph Needham, from the first volume which appeared in 1954, through to volume 6.3 which was in press at the time of his death in 1995. The published volumes reflect Needham's vision of the field of the history of science and its social background in China, and his aim to make Chinese achievements in science and technology better understood. The planning and preparation of further volumes is ongoing. Responsibility for the commissioning and approval of work for publication in the series is now taken by the Publications Board of the Needham Research Institute, under the chairmanship of Dr C. Cullen, who acts as general editor of the series.