A news story you might be reading in 2003:

LOS ANGELES--A bidding war broke out yesterday for the rights to publish a scientific study identifying a master gene that con~trols aging. In the end, the journal Genes & Proteins topped offers from four other journals and agreed to pay the authors of the breakthrough paper $137,000--a new record for a scientific paper sold at auction.

"With this money, we'll be able to hire a couple of postdocs, and that will help speed up the work in our lab," Robert Kildow, director of the Phoenix Institute for the Study of Cell Senescence in Arizona, told reporters immediately after the winning bid was accepted.

By late in the day, word of the record price had swept through the scientific community, rais~ing hopes of many researchers whose papers are coming up for auction next month

The practice of paying authors for the rights...

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