The long read
"Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science? It is an industry like no other, with profit margins to rival Google – and it was created by one of Britain’s most notorious tycoons: Robert Maxwell.
By Stephen Buranyi
In an environment newly flush with cash and optimism, it was Rosbaud who pioneered the method that would drive Pergamon’s success. As science expanded, he realised that it would need new journals to cover new areas of study. The scientific societies that had traditionally created journals were unwieldy institutions that tended to move slowly, hampered by internal debates between members about the boundaries of their field. Rosbaud had none of these constraints. All he needed to do was to convince a prominent academic that their particular field required a new journal to showcase it properly, and install that person at the helm of it. Pergamon would then begin selling subscriptions to university libraries, which suddenly had a lot of government money to spend.