Wikipedia says that Newton published the laws in 1687 on Principia Mathematica. And in another page that:
The first recorded editorial pre-publication peer-review occurred in 1665 by the founding editor of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Henry Oldenburg
However is unclear to me when and how publishing in highly reputable journals has become so important, in particular for judging a researcher's past research success. (For example, for evaluating researchers for purposes of awarding funding.)
I assume that it all started as a way to filter or deprioritize low quality research proposals or researcher, but that would make for other question maybe. When and how did journals start to have such an important role in science for evaluating researchers?