What is the way that media king Robert Maxwell created a science publishing system that squeezes huge wealth from "science"?
It is pointed out that "interests" related to authoritative scientific journals are scoffing the world of science, and some scientists opposed to it are taking action to open scientific articles free of charge on the net. What succeeded in creating huge profits from science was former media kingRobert Maxwell. The Guardian touches on how the rare genius entrepreneur cut into the field of science and created a huge interest.
Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science? | Science | The Guardian
Scientific papers are published in science journals (scientific journals) such as Science and Nature, and are published to researchers all over the world, contributing to the development of science. However, the cost of subscribing to articles published in authoritative scientific journals such as Science and Nature is very high, so that the budget of universities and research institutions is tightened. Elsevier (Elsevier), the world's largest scientific publisher who publishes a large number of journals, boasts a terrible profit margin, about 40% of sales surpassing profits, high-tech companies such as Google, Apple, and Amazon.
The structure in which scientific papers are published in the journal is known to have a distinctive and distinctive structure in the scientific field. Writing a paper is of course a scientist, but it is also a scientist to peer review it (pure review). The publisher pays a fee to some editors who are scientists who decide whether or not to publish the paper in scientific journals, but basically the volunteers conduct peer review peerly Yes, it can be said that scientists are made up of service by the scientists writing articles and peer reviewers. In this structure, for example, it is possible to make "quality control of" raw materials (articles) "received from a customer by another customer (reviewer) and to check the checked products (scientific journals containing the articles) , Selling to customers (scientists all over the world). "It is no exaggeration to say that such commercial transactions are unusual worlds not possible in other industries.
Yahn Ludovik · Hoch, a British immigrant from the Czech Republic, created such an unusual world. Later media king "Robert Maxwell" was. Jewish Czech Maxwell escaped the persecution of Nazi Germany, exiled to the UK, made a achievement in the British army, and when World War II ended, he served as an information division officer in Berlin, Germany, occupied by the Allied Army. It is said that he was interrogating a prisoner with nine different languages.
At that time, the British government, which had the world's highest level scientists such as Alexander Fleming who discovered penicillin and physicist Calton Darwin, the grandson of Charles Darwin, gave the best scientific publisher I decided to make it and tried to master Springer's expertise to Butterworths by having British publishing house Butterworths and German famous publishing company Springer collaborate.
At the same time Maxwell, who was trying to lift up in the world of business, took over the task of Springer delivering scientific papers to the UK and further acquired the sales rights of publications, and Springer's management We will continue to participate. Maxwell with management rights hired a young scientist Paul Rosbaud and became a scientific editor.
When Butterworths decided to withdraw from the science publishing business in 1951 Maxwell would invest 13,000 pounds (about 62 million yen in present value) to completely control the business by buying the shares of both Butterworth · Springer shares Succeeded and established the publisher Pergamon (Pergamon). Maxwell had three quarters of the stock, and the remaining quarter was held by Rosbaude.
In an academic organization that was responsible for the production of scientific journals at that time, the internal debate between the members was so active that it lacked in speed and it was awkward for Maxwell Rosbaut. Therefore, Rosbaud told prominent scholars that they needed a new scientific magazine in order to expand the research field, and conducted persuasive work.
Aimed Maxwell quickly learned Rossbaud's "way of writing" and accelerated the movement of establishing a new journal over Rossbaud. At the Geneva conference to discuss the peaceful use of nuclear energy in 1955, borrowed an office near the conference where the conference is held, pulled prominent scientists, called seminars, and edited by Pergamon's editor in a scientific journal He said that he was going to acquire scientists one after another with the rough skill of letting him sign an exclusive contract. Rosbaud, a former scientist, was disgusted with the brute force method of a well-behaved businessman, and in 1956 he left Pergamon.
Speaking of Maxwell's method, attending a scientific meeting at random, entertaining scientists at a party that has plenty of liquor and cigars, inviting them to a lakeside villa in Colonge Bellrib, Switzerland, It was to enter scientists one after another into Pergamon's journal with entertainment offensive that showed "another world" to the academic industry of the time that was unrelated to gorgeousness, like taking out and party.
As a result, by 1959 Pergamon has grown to be a huge science publisher that publishes 40 different journals. Even Elsevier, a well-established long-established store founded in the 16th century to acquire Pergamon later, how quickly Pergamon has taken power, as it had only 10 different English-language journals I understand.
Maxwell requested journals founded one after another to add extraordinary modifiers. Among them, Maxwell 's favorite phrase was "International Journal of". In the science industry of the time, research in the international research group is becoming authoritative for researchers, and the phrase "International Journal of" crowned by Pergamon's journal appears attractive as a place for publishing the paper I can imagine that.
It was revealed in the latter half of the 1950s that Maxwell's "international sense" was outstanding. When the Soviet Union in 1957 launched an artificial satellite Sputnik for the first time in the world, scientists from the Western countries were touched to overtake and overtake Russian space research. Maxwell talked with the Russian academy in the early 1950s and has acquired the right to publish Russian research in English and has already completed the position that Western scientists can understand Russian science and technology That's right.
Pergamon, which owns a large number of scientific journals, was a business that allowed scientific journals to subscribe to universities and research institutes, but since these research institutions are subsidized by governments, the actual situation is Business was accurate. As represented by the competition of space development by USSR, global trends emphasizing the development of science and technology did not show signs that science budgets would be reduced, and Maxwell's business was quite satisfactory.
Maxwell is known not to have been through the existence of a rival scientific journal. Generally, the existence of rivals has the aspect of reducing profits, but Maxwell thought about scientific journals as there is no limit to the pie of the market. Because individual scientific papers are works related to one and only discovery, and substitution does not work in other papers. In other words, if a new scientific journal with excellent papers appears, the scientists only request the library of the university or research institution to subscribe to the scientific journal, so there is no limit to pie.
In the late 1960's, scientific journal commercial publishers were considered necessary partners to help scientific progress. By this time, Pergamon further expanded the publishing process further, adopting more stylish cover, further expanded its scale. Among the scientists, there was a concern that Pergamon 's power increased and there was concern that it would lose the right to the article, but the convenience of Pergamon' s journal, the glow of the work, and Maxwell 's overwhelming Many scientists were overwhelmed before human power.
Maxwell is always waiting for scientists' requests, and we spared our support. Scientific journalVacuum"Maxwell was aware of the importance of the relationship with prominent scientists from an extremely early stage, and Maxwell did anything that scientists wanted," said Arthur Barrett, I am talking. The scientists are very satisfied with the wolf who invited to their house.
Maxwell changed the world of scientific journals, but the content of work for scientists' research did not change in particular. However, the emergence of one scientific journal has changed the publishing system of the paper. The journal Cell that began with the purpose of announcing the research results of MIT in biology in 1974 produced that transformation. In Cell edited by an extremely intelligent young researcher named Ben Ruwin, he adopted a way that it was impossible at the time to refuse the majority of papers submitted for contribution. Ruwin tried to make a special collection that only posted papers that can be called masterpieces.
Ruwin knew that many scientists had the idea that they wanted to be "a chosen member." "A scientist wanted to put a paper on Cell and I was under the same pressure", Randy Shekuman, a later Nobel Laureate winner, finally gave a few papers on Cell He said that he posted.
"Place" to publish a paper by the appearance of Cell became important. Until then, scientists did not pay special attention to scientific journals to be published, but scientists have learned the importance of scientific journals to be published. In Cell, we adopted an index called "impact factor" that ranks papers on the basis of how frequently a paper is being referenced. Thus, the paper was rated as superior or inferior in content, and the type of scientific journals posted on that rating also affected.
The publication of a paper in a powerful scientific journal has raised the status as a scientist of the thesis writer. The three scientific journals Cell, Nature, and Science acquire the status as the most prestigious scientific journal, and its initial letter is called "CNS". "A young biologist can not get a good post unless it is published in the CNS, and CN has a great influence at the outset of science," shekkeman says.
When scientific journals are authorized in this way, the "science" that scientists have created up until that time became "collaborative" collaboration between scientists and journal editors. And scientists began pursuing discoveries that journal editors feel attractive. Scientists who write journal editors' favorite papers have become more likely to be able to post papers on a regular basis. Sydney Brenner, the Nobel biologist winner,2014 interviewHe said that the academy is being inspired to research the theme that meets the requirements of journal editors, and has convicted that the system is "corrupt".
In the late 1970s, Elsevier expanded the publishing business of English-language scientific journals in the Netherlands and had grown at a pace of 35 magazines over the course of a year after acquiring domestic competing publishers. Despite the rapid growth of rivals, Maxwell never expected the subscription price of the paper to drop as expected. In the decade from 1975 to 1985, the average price of scientific journals has doubled. According to the New York Times, the annual subscription fee for scientific journal Brain Research jumped to more than $ 5,000 in 1988, which was $ 2,500 in 1984. In this year Harvard Library said the journal subscription budget was over $ 500,000.
The first thing I noticed in Maxwell's "market trap" was the staff of the university library. Officials of the library subscribing to scientific journals within the budget allocated from the university had a good understanding of Maxwell 's business contents from the scientific journal subscription fee that is rising from year to year. However, the scientists who did not cut the direct money never felt a sense of crisis. Pergamon's profit margin in 1988 was 47%, despite the large economic funding of scientists for decades. In this way, Maxwell who got the "semi-permanent financing machine" has become a complete winner.
It was Maxwell who built a system to squeeze a lot of money from the world of science, but in search of political power, he took over the acquisition of a newspaper company and acquired Daily Mirror and Sunday Mail. In addition, Berlitz of language learning and cable television stations etc. are also umbrella one after another to build a big media conglomerate, and the title "media King" is the biggest rivalRupert MurdochI shared it.
However, in 1990, when allegations that Maxwell was using accounting operations that pocketed abuses were reported to newspaper companies owned by Murdoch, there was a rise in interest rates in the UK in 1991, a recession, a sharp drop in real estate prices in 1991 From the sudden change in market conditions Maxwell 's empire was greatly fluctuating, and a crisis in management came. And in 1991, Maxwell decided to sell Pergamon to rival Elsevier for £ 440 million (currently worth around 140 billion yen) for the acquisition cost of New York Daily News . Pergamon's former employee said, 'Maxwell loved Pergamon so much, I think Maxwell knew everything was over when I contracted with Elsevier.'
On November 5, 1991, Maxwell dropped from its own high-class yacht and drowned. In the sudden death of Media King, various speculations such as suicide and killing came over but the cause is still unknown now. The group companies that lost the emperor continued to bankrupt one after another, and the media empire collapsed.
Elsevier, who took over Pergamon from Maxwell who built a stone system to earn huge wealth from science, continues to reign as the largest publisher possessing numerous scientific journals.