Recognising the international importance of Science Abstracts, the IEE continued to subsidise its production even through World War I.
An application had to be made to the Government's 'Committee on Trading with the Enemy' to obtain a licence to import material from Germany and Austria. The number of abstracts published decreased during these years partly due to the difficulty in getting the source material. However staff shortages, increases in the cost of printing and strict security regulations which controlled the publication of scientific information were also large contributory factors.
At the end of the war there were severe paper shortages resulting in a rapid increase in price, which led to the Government imposing restrictions on the use of paper. This further served to reduce the size of Science Abstracts
The worsening financial position after the war led to the IEE Council's reluctant decision to increase the member subscription prices from January 1920 to 10 shillings (50 pence) for one part and 15 shillings (75 pence) for two. Non member prices were raised to 27 shillings (£1.35) for one part and 45 shillings (£2.25) for two. A further price increase was introduced in 1923 which resulted in the first complaints that the abstracts were becoming too expensive for ordinary members.
Improved marketing effort since the war increased the number of non-member subscriptions and for the first time in 1923, the publication reached economic viability. This sadly was not to last for many years and in 1928 rising costs contributed to a deficit of £877. Over the next decade various attempts were made to increase the number of subscriptions including the introduction of young graduate and student rates to encourage use early in their careers.