Annual Review of Biochemistry


The Annual Review of Biochemistry, in publication since 1932, sets the standard for review articles in biological chemistry and molecular biology. Since its inception, these volumes have served as an indispensable resource for both the practising biochemist and students of biochemistry.

The Annual Review of Biochemistry was the creation of Stanford University chemist and professor J. Murray Luck. In 1930, Luck offered a course on current research in biochemistry to graduate students. In designing the course, he said he felt "knee-deep in trouble", as he believed he was sufficiently knowledgeable in only a few areas of biochemistry. He considered the volume of research to be overwhelming; there were 6,500 abstracts regarding biochemistry published in Chemical Abstracts that year. Luck asked about 50 biochemists in the US, United Kingdom, and Canada if an annual volume of critical reviews on biochemistry research would be useful, to which he received positive responses. This correspondence provided possible authors and topics for his first several volumes. Stanford University Press agreed to publish the journal on a three-year contract, with financial assistance from the Chemical Foundation. Stanford University gave the journal rent-free office space in 1931 for editorial and business operations. Prior to this, Luck's only experience in the publishing industry was working for a summer as a book salesman in Western Canada. Volume 1 was published in July 1932, consisting of 30 reviews from 35 authors of nine different countries; the volume was 724 pages.[4] Luck was the founding editor of the Annual Review of Biochemistry and held the editorship for thirty-five years.

At the completion of the contract with Stanford University Press, the advisory committee of the journal, which included Carl L. Alsberg, Denis Hoagland, and Carl L. A. Schmidt, decided to assume a legal identity as the journal's publisher, though keeping Stanford University Press as the printer. On December 12, 1934, they submitted articles of incorporation with the California Secretary of State to create Annual Review of Biochemistry, Ltd., which was organized as a nonprofit. In February 1938, the name was changed to Annual Reviews, Inc.

Prior to World War II, about half of all review articles published each volume were from authors outside the US. The war caused international scientific communication to drop off dramatically, with international authorship at 25% in 1947. The breadth of material within each volume lessened when Annual Reviews added new titles in physiology and plant physiology.

Annual Review of Biochemistry Details

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