The Bell System used to publish a scientific/engineering journal. It contained very 'hairy' articles on research developments of the company. Some were directly telephone, but others were general scientific developments in a variety of disciplines.
IBM published (may still do) a similar journal.
What I don't understand is _why_ the companies went to the expense of these journals. I would think they'd want their research results to be kept private for competitive reasons.
The only explanation I heard was stuff for these journals was thought not worth patening, so publishing it insured it would remain in the public domain just in case someone else tried to patent it.
Any thoughts? Thanks! [public replies, please]
PS. Don't confuse the "Technical Journal" with the "Bell Laboratories Record". The Record was much less technical and more of a public relations house organ to let people know what the Labs was up to. I think most readers were employees of the company itself. The Record included stuff on retirements, benefits, etc.
If you are near an engineering college with a good library, see if they have old issues of the Record. Fascinating stuff!***** Moderator's Note *****
Since my father-in-law retired from Bell Labs, I have some insight into this question.
(Pause for effect)
Scientists don't work for corporations or their bosses. They _tolerate_ their bosses and the corporations that employ them, but they regard both as marginally necessary evils that enable them to do fun stuff.
Scientists _really_ work for the admiration of their peers. They don't care what the suits think of them: they _care_ what the other techies think of them!
Their bosses know this.
Their bosses make an easy living because of this.
Their bosses pay them pauper's wages because they can hold out the carrot of publicity and wield the stick of humiliation to those who strive to be the first to publish.
Publish, as in "Be an author of a major achievement described in a prestigious technical journal".
It has little to do with patents: scientists ignore patent applications when judging each others' worth, because patent applications are written by lawyers and are nothing but (in the scientist's viewpoint) a license to sue someone. Scientists don't care about patents: their papers will often say "Patent Applied For", but anything that's of significant competitive value would have already been vetted by the legal department.
Unlike patents, technical journals are subject to _Peer_ review, i.e., they accept submissions only after thorough screening by experts who can spot cold fusion a mile away. For that reason, major laboratories work very hard to maintain _very_ high standards for the papers that appear in their journals, because it gives them a significant competitve edge to be able to offer top talent the chance of being accepted in the same circles as many past Nobel winners.
Of course, there's a practical side: because the Bell Labs Journal and other similar publications are "in house", they can review and prepare news of breaking scientific achievements at the same time as the patent applicaitons are being prepared and vetted, thus assuring those who work there the best possible chance to be the first to publish.
Bill Horne Temporary Moderator
(Please put [Telecom] at the end of the subject line of your post, or I may never see it. Thanks!)