The ICNAF Redbook series commenced in 1958 for the purpose of documenting the reports of the Commission's Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (STACRES) in a form appropriate for distribution to scientists and others engaged in the activities of the Commission. The first issue was entitled "Selected Reports of the Standing Committee on Research and Statistics for the 1958 and 1956 Annual Meetings", and the issues of 1959 to 1961 were similarly named. These reports were bound with red covers and by 1962 they became known as "Redbook", the name which was assigned to the series for subsequent issues. In addition to the STACRES reports, the issues of 1959 to 1961 contain a number of papers selected from documents presented to the annual meetings of these years.
In 1962 and subsequently up to 1973, the Redbook was issued annually in three parts: Part I contains the reports of STACRES, its Subcommittees and Working Groups; Part II contains national research reports and Part III contains selected papers from the annual meetings. In 1967, a special volume of Redbook, namely Part IV, was issued, containing selected papers from a special meeting of the Environmental Subcommittee in May 1967 on "Fluctuations in Sea and Air Temperatures in the ICNAF Area since 1950".
At the 1974 Annual Meeting, STACRES recommended that the publication of Part II and Part III of Redbook be discontinued, noting (a) that the national research reports which formerly appeared in Part II receive adequate circulation as Summary Documents, and (b) that selected papers which formerly appeared in Part III should be submitted to the Research Bulletin, depending on their quality and content. In 1975, the Selected Papers series was established to accomodate papers similar in quality to those published previously in Redbook Part III. In 1974 and subsequently, Redbook was issued as a single volume, containing the reports of STACRES meetings only.