Robert Maxwell moved from his native Czechoslovakia to the U.K. at the outbreak of the second World War. He served as an intelligence officer with the British Army, and so was quick to anticipate the post-war expansion of science described above, created Pergamon Press shortly after the war, and published many of the early international neurochemical symposia, listed in Table 1. One of his staff (Dr. P. Rosbaud) was asked to contact Marthe Vogt in Cambridge with a view to starting a new physiological journal. Marthe expressed more interest in a journal for neurochemistry and suggested that Dr. Rosbaud contact Derek Richter, who furnished her with the names of eminent international neurochemists. She was met with enthusiastic responses from all she contacted. Part of that correspondence included a comment from Henry McIlwain which is worth reproducing : "The reputation of any journal, and to some extent of the subject itself, would be enormously dependent on an adequate editorial policy, which would probably be easier to maintain with a representative Editorial Board elected by or otherwise responsible to a Society" (letter to Dr. Rosbaud, 1965, archives). The title pages of the first issue of the journal are reproduced as Fig. 4.
Figure 4. First Cover of the Journal of Neurochemistry

It is to Pergamon's credit that the original Editorial Board was fully supported in fulfilling those criteria. Also it must be acknowledged that Pergamon never attempted to influence the scientific policy decisions of the Editors, but kept control of pricing, format and page numbers. The correspondence of these first years exhibits a strong sense of harmonious relations between the Editors (Derek Richter and Heinrich Waelsch) and the publishers. For the first few years the journal ran at a loss and was subsidised by the publishers. Early volumes contained some papers in French and German.

From the beginning the Editorial Board was divided into two parts which still exist : a "Western Board" for papers submitted from North and South America, and an "Eastern Board" for papers from the rest of the world. Heinrich Waelsch and Derek Richter took responsibility for the two Boards and put an enormous amount of effort into ensuring high standards and helping authors get their papers published.The Western Board generally processed just over 50% of the papers so the Eastern Board took responsibility for pastoral activities such as society notices, advertisements, book reviews and scientific reviews. Rejection rates and processing times were similar for the two Editorial Boards; relations were thus generally happy and constructive.

Table 4. Chief editors of the Journal of Neurochemistry

Year     Eastern*     Western**
1956     Richter     Waelsch
1957     Richter     Waelsch
1958     Richter     Waelsch
1959     Richter     Waelsch/Sperry
1960     Richter     Sperry
1961     Richter     Sperry
1962     Richter     Sperry
1963     Richter     Sperry
1964     Richter     Sperry
1965     Richter     Sperry
1966     Richter     Sperry
1967     Richter     Sperry
1968     Richter     Sperry
1969     Richter     Tower
1970     Davison     Tower
1971     Davison     Tower
1972     Davison     Tower
1973     Davison     Tower
1974     Davison     Sokoloff
1975     Davison/Iversen     Sokoloff
1976     Iversen     Sokoloff
1977     Iversen     Sokoloff
1978     Iversen     Suzuki
1979     Iversen     Suzuki
1980     Bachelard     Suzuki
1981     Bachelard     Suzuki
1982     Bachelard     Norton
1983     Bachelard     Norton
1984     Bachelard     Norton
1985     Bachelard/Tipton     Norton
1986     Tipton     Lees
1987     Tipton     Lees
1988     Tipton     Lees
1989     Tipton     Lees
1990     Tipton     Boulton
1991     Tipton/Lunt     Boulton
1992     Lunt     Boulton
** Responsible for the Americas, *responsible for the rest of the world. In addition to the above, many of whom were previously Deputy Chief Editors, the following have served as Deputy Chief Editors : Agranoff, Ansell, Aprison, Bock, Campagnoni, Collier, Eichberg, Miyamoto, Fonnum, Hauser, Ledeen, Martenson, Shooter, Soreq, Walsh and Wolfe.

Chief Editors, after the generative years, were normally appointed for 4 years. However, given a considerable work-load, it proved difficult sometimes to coerce a successor, so some of the Chief Editors listed in Table 4 had perforce to serve for longer periods. One of the Chief Editors was only able to persuade his successor (Keith Tipton) by plying him with numerous glasses of Guinness in Dublin Pubs! He, in his turn, extended his service to avoid simultaneous change-over of the Chief Editors of the Western and Eastern hemispheres. Those of us who have served in this capacity found it a most enjoyable and rewarding task. The principle of having papers reviewed by 2 independent referees, and the feeling that authors should be given constructive and encouraging feed-back, made many more friends than enemies, and the exercise kept the Editors well educated in the subject. All of us benefit from good sound refereeing and most of us would acknowledge the truth that our papers have been substantially improved by the comments of referees and editors. We would encourage our younger colleagues to accept invitations to become editors - it is a good and rewarding expenditure of energy.

As a result of consultations between Derek Richter and Robert Maxwell, the Journal became the property of I.S.N. officially on Jan. 1, 1970, with the agreement that Pergamon should continue to publish it for 5 years, after which another 5 years would follow if there was mutual agreement. Maxwell agreed to the principle of transfer of ownership if a formula could be found to re-imburse Pergamon for the value of the copyright. This became impossible to estimate in view of the difficulty experienced by the Society's Officers in assessing profits (see below). One understandable problem derived from the original discussions between the representative scientists and Maxwell : the records of the time show that Derek Richter and Jordi Folch-Pi stated that they did not anticipate a change of publisher (there was no reason why they should, given the harmonious relationships of the time), so in the subsequent litigation, these discussions were interpreted quite differently by the protagonists.

In the new arrangements of 1970 Pergamon agreed to make over 40% of the nett profits to the society - these were not forthcoming and the Treasurer at the time (Brian Ansell) was offered access to the combined accounts of all Pergamon Press journals, but without employing professional accountants (very expensive, and the Society had no money) there was no way he could dissect out those specifically relating to J.Neurochem. In the mid 1960s and again in the 1970s, the production time was very slow (there is much agonised correspondence from the Chief Editors in the archives), and in the late 1970s parts of the journal appeared with pages inverted or missing. The production staff at Pergamon (M. Church and A.N. Richards), with whom we had excellent personal relations, were unable to help due to internal management problems. In private conversations with Mike Church, he was even more frustrated by the problems than we were. The publication problems therefore did not improve despite numerous undertakings by Maxwell, so the Society decided to look elsewhere for a publisher. Interest was expressed by the British Biochemical Society (who published many journals including the highly respected Biochemical Journal), by Elsevier (who published extensively in the Neurosciences) and by Raven (who at that time were active in symposium publications in the Neurosciences). The I.S.N. Council finally decided that the offer from Raven was the most attractive, so signed the contract, for publication to commence in January 1980. After the agreement that the Journal was to be published by Raven, Pergamon continued to advertise J.Neurochem. as its product in its 1980/1981 catalogue, and persisted in billing members and libraries for subscriptions to it. Pergamon then hinted that it might publish a competing journal with the title "The Journal of Neurochemistry" : the subtle distinction between that title and the established "Journal of Neurochemistry" would have caused chaos amongst members, and particularly libraries. (There is considerable correspondence between Dick Rodnight, speaking for I.S.N., and the Society's solicitors on this problem, in Sep. 1981, preserved in the archives). Also Maxwell refused to release the list of I.S.N. members, and subscribers to the journal being published by Raven were being billed to Pergamon, while the legitimate publishers didn't know who to bill! A further headache for the Publications Committee was the "hostage" manuscripts : some 41 manuscripts had been accepted for publication by the Editors and were in the hands of Pergamon at the time of the changeover of publishers. Pergamon was forbidden to publish them by the court injunction (below) but was reluctant to hand them over to Raven.

On advice from our London solicitors (Adam Burn & Metson), I.S.N. had earlier applied for an injunction to prevent Pergamon from publishing J. Neurochem. in 1980, and to force Pergamon to divulge the subscription list . Les Iversen and I recall spending a considerable amount of fascinating time being briefed with the Barrister (Mr. N. Pumphrey of Grays Inn, London) for the forthcoming case which was heard in the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice in London, December 18-19, 1979. The result was a temporary injunction against Pergamon which read "On the Defendants stating that they have no intention of publishing other than the December 1979 issue of the Journal of Neurochemistry, any of the articles supplied to them by the Plaintiffs and upon the Defendants undertaking to supply within 14 days a list of names and addresses of the subscribers to the 1979 journal, it is ordered that the Defendants be restrained until Judgment in this action, or further Order, from publishing after the December 1979 issue any journal under the title Journal of Neurochemistry or any other title only colourably different therefrom and that the Plaintiffs costs of these proceedings be cost in cause" (whatever that means!). On a lighter note, those of us who'd been called were fired up to appear as witnesses at this Chancery hearing ( a big event in our relatively peaceful lives), but after the submissions by the opposing barristers (advocates), the court found in I.S.N.'s favour without the need to call on our expertise! An amusing experience (in retrospect) was an informal meeting with Maxwell in Robert Balaz's office at the Institute of Neurology in London, when Maxwell pleaded for the "jewel in his publishing crown", and to be given the chance to prove his commitment to improve the quality of the production of the journal. On our observation that his track record on production and finances did not give much assurance for the future, he produced a histrionic performance that would have been the envy of a Shakespearean actor.

Maxwell argued verbally and in letters, with some justification (given the perspective of time which we now enjoy), that he had been shabbily treated by the Society - that "he had founded the journal, had nurtured it through its infancy and developmental period, had contributed significantly to the development of neurochemistry as a field, had generously transferred ownership of the journal to the I.S.N. , and had collected membership dues free of charge". He requested a one year extension of his contract in order to be given the opportunity to demonstrate his willingness to cooperate. On being reminded that I.S.N. could not agree to this, as a contract had been signed with Raven, he then suggested that the journal might be produced jointly by the two publishers. The Publications Committee of I.S.N. acknowledged the service Pergamon had generously provided over the years but felt that their contract with Raven must stand. The differences between Pergamon and I.S.N. were exacerbated somewhat by some rather emotional writing in the I.S.N. Newsletter of Summer, 1980, which gave Maxwell reason to believe his case could be strengthened by accusing the Society of defamation. This was followed by a very strong threatening letter in October, 1980 from Pergamon's solicitors that the "publication of malicious falsehoods and libels" in the Newsletter were "gravely defamatory". Our solicitors expressed their uncertainty about our chances of a clear victory in Court, much to the concern of our Officers, bearing in mind the then limited financial resources of the Society. The first battle had been won, i.e. to preserve the integrity of the journal and to obtain the subscription list, but the war had been far from won. It should be emphasized that this was a temporary injunction pending a full Court Case which would probably not have taken place until well into 1981. Our Officers were understandably most apprehensive of any ensuing litigation, given the relative poverty then of I.S.N., compared with the infinite financial resources of Maxwell's publishing empire (the legal costs to I.S.N. had already exceeded $5,000 and were soon to be double that sum). On the advice of our solicitors (who served us well throughout), Elling Kvamme was encouraged to explore the possibility that Maxwell might be prepared to settle out of court. There was much ensuing confidential correspondence between them, which resulted in a reasonable compromise agreement : that Maxwell would make a donation to the Society in return for peace-making statements appearing in the I.S.N. Newsletters, which would separate the cessation of hostilities from his donation to the society. These were accordingly as follows :

Newsletter, March, 1982. "An amicable agreement has been reached between the publisher of Pergamon Press, R. Maxwell, and the Chairman of I.S.N., E. Kvamme, whereby the dispute arising out of the transfer of the publishing arrangements for the Journal of Neurochemistry has been settled out of court. It was agreed that the contract between the two parties has been terminated and that Pergamon Press will not publish a journal under the name of Journal of Neurochemistry, and that the Society agreed to restore its previous good relations with Pergamon and welcomes the publication of Neurochemistry International". [The stress borne by some of our Officers during these protracted negotiations made them accept the latter part of this compromise statement only with great reluctance].

The understanding between Maxwell and Kvamme was that on publication of this first item in the Newsletter, Pergamon would make the agreed donation to I.S.N.
Newsletter, Spring, 1982. "It is a pleasure to announce that Pergamon Press has donated a sum of $20,000 to I.S.N., $10,000 to be used by the society in any way it sees fit, the other $10,000 ear-marked for travel". [This latter donation pleased Graham Johnston immensely as he had long argued for it in his capacity as Chairman of the F.I.S.N., Table 3].

It took some time and many letters from our representatives before the donation finally came through to Alan Boulton in July, 1982. The Society owes much to Elling Kvamme for conducting a series of difficult, diplomatic negotiations with Maxwell, which turned out to be as successful as could be hoped. Our solicitors were very satisfied with the outcome, and in a letter of the 15th July, 1982, quoted an old English saying - "He who sups with the Devil should use a long spoon"! Elling Kvamme's personal recollections of the affair are in the Archives.

It was Brian Ansell as Company Secretary who carried the main burden of the correspondence with Pergamon and our solicitors over the litigation, and who bore the essential stress. The Society owes him an unrepayable debt and it is tragic that he is not here with us to share in our current prosperity and scientific vitality.

Good relations were quickly restored between members of I.S.N., especially those of the Editorial Board of J. Neurochem., and our colleagues associated with Pergamon Press and Neurochemistry International.

The Journal maintained a sustained growth (Fig. 2) and publication strategies sometimes suffered from its success in that the increase in submissions of good quality papers made it difficult to plan the pagination for the coming year. This explains the "plateaux" of Fig.2. Other episodes in the history of the journal tend to be minor by comparison with the momentous events described above. One recurrent theme has been rivalry between the two Editorial Boards on quality and editorial processing time. It has usually been good-natured, exemplified by comments by Eastern Board editors of the time taken to help non-English speaking authors with their manuscripts - the invariable response from the Western Board editors is "you should read the diabolical English of some of our authors!"

In 1980-1,the "Matters Arising" column was initiated (with some expressions of concern that it might prove divisive) but it seems to have been successful in that the content has proved constructive and educative.

In 1981-2 the Advisory Board was rolled up into the Editorial Board, with the consequent large increase in numbers of Board members, a few of whom were not very active, but who have rotated off since then.

In 1987 Rapid Communications began, with concern over the added work-load for our unpaid truly professional editors. These "Rapids" are universally regarded as eminently successful, and as far as we are aware, our Chief Editors are managing them superbly. Such developments have the inevitable cost implications, and it is to the credit of our Treasurers that they have appreciated the need to give full financial support to these ventures. It's worth emphasizing that the financial health of the society is directly due to the essentially unpaid efforts and professional integrity of the editors.

In spite of all of these trials and tribulations (or perhaps because of them?) the journal has thrived as can be seen from the growth illustrated in Fig. 2 and to judge from the citation indices for core journals.The latest figures (1991) for the "Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Section of the SCI Journal Citation Reports" are J. Neurochem. 24, just above Biochem. J. at 28, and higher than Europ. J. Biochem. and Biochim.Biophys.Acta. In the "Neurosciences Section of the SCI Reports" , J. Neurochem. stood at 14.

L. Sokoloff     W. Sperry
L. Sokoloff     W. Sperry
H. Bachelard, A. Boulton, K. Tipton (left to rigth)
H. Bachelard, A. Boulton, K. Tipton (left to rigth)
A. Davison     L. Iversen
A. Davison     L. Iversen
W. Norton     K. Suzuki
W. Norton     K. Suzuki
M. Lees     G. Lunt
M. Lees     G. Lunt
E. Kvamme and H. Bachelard
E. Kvamme and H. Bachelard