RSC acquires rights to Merck Index


The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has acquired the rights to the ‘bible’ of chemistry, the Merck Index, familiar around the world to medicinal chemists and drug discovery scientists. The society will be responsible for publishing the 15th edition of the iconic red tome, which bills itself as ‘chemistry’s constant companion’. The organisation also has plans to make the index more accessible and expand its online presence.

To date, the Merck Index has sold more than 1 million copies around the world over its 123-year lifespan. The index contains a whole host of chemical structures and information on small molecule and biological drugs, environmentally important compounds and industrial and speciality chemicals, for example. The current edition also contains more than 10,000 monographs and 450 named organic reactions.

‘We are very excited to be welcoming a title as prestigious as the Merck Index to the RSC portfolio,’ said James Milne, RSC publishing executive director. ‘It makes an excellent strategic fit with our current publishing activities, complementing existing services such as ChemSpider, the award-winning free database of chemical structures.’

Derek Lowe, a medicinal chemist and regular columnist for Chemistry World, says that he thinks the RSC has got the right idea by expanding the index’s online offering. However, he notes that any upgraded index will be battling against other online sources, such as Wikipedia, and will have to work hard to make a name for itself on the internet.


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