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Scholarly Publishing Principles Albert Henderson 08 Jun 2000 16:07 UTC

on 8 Jun 2000 Fytton Rowland <J.F.Rowland@LBORO.AC.UK> wrote:

> This looks interesting.    Fytton.
> >Date:         Wed, 7 Jun 2000 09:57:27 -0500
> >Sender:       Open Lib/Info Sci Education Forum <JESSE@LISTSERV.UTK.EDU>
> >From:         Susan Searing <searing@ALEXIA.LIS.UIUC.EDU>
> >Subject:      Scholarly Publishing Principles (fwd)
> >
> >Messages to jESSE: [reply, or]
> >         to Moderator: []
> >         to Sender: [take e-mail address from message below]
> >Info on jESSE: []
> >-------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> >Not too long ago, this list discussed the cost of LIS journals and what
> >actions, if any, LIS authors should take to counter the rising costs.
> >The "Principles for Emerging Systems of Scholarly Publishing" addresses
> >this issue head-on.
> >
> >The principles are at: <>
> >
> >An article about them in the _Chronicle of Higher Education_ is at:
> ><>
> >[subscriber password required]

Letters to the Editor, Chronicle of Higher Education:

Denise K. Magner's coverage of "Principles for Emerging Systems of
Scholarly Publishing" (1) could have balanced this latest sortie
in a decade-old propaganda campaign (2) with some dissenting
sources. The new "pact" runs roughshod over long expressed pleas of
academic senates, faculty, and researchers for library spending
that keeps pace with the growth of research. (3) Lotka's Law of
Productivity tells us that the number of papers published is
immutably related to the number of scientists. (4) Unfortunately
their contributions to knowledge are branded "excessive" by the
Babbitts who bypass peer review when possible as they lobby for
research grants. (5) Moreover, the weeping about costs is bogus.
Spending on libraries has risen only half as fast as research
revenues. (6) It could have, should have risen more. Guided by
university administrators, Federal research grant policy
purportedly includes "libraries" as an overhead factor. (7)

Universities manufactured the library crisis. Their cuts of
library spending and increasing R&D forced publishers to raise
prices sharply to cover fixed costs with fewer sales units. The
earliest subscription cancellations, of "duplicates" addressed
to research offices, forced researchers to use grant money to
buy publications. (8,9) It also forced publishers to ask authors
for production subsidies. (10) It also increased university
profits. Last year, the profits of private research
universities averaged 25 percent "after taxes," according to
IRS documents disclosed in the Chronicle. (11)

Clearly, their obsession with financial goals has driven
university managers beyond the pale. In their pursuit of
financial "productivity," based largely on the mirage of
photocopiers replacing publishers and library collections,
they have forgotten that the cost-effectiveness of
information is determined by better output rather than
reduced spending. (12) As a former president of Columbia
University once pointed out, "a government contract becomes
virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity." (13) In
this context, the so-called pact is clearly part of a strategy
aimed at tenure and the power of learned associations in the
war against faculty. (14)


Albert Henderson
Editor, Publishing Research Quarterly 1994-2000

References and notes for editorial use.

1. Magner, Denise K. June 7, 2000. (Today's News) Academics
and Industry Pact to Guide the Evolution of Scholarly Publishing.
Chronicle of Higher Education.

2. Association of Research Libraries. 1989. Report of the ARL
Serials Prices Project.  Washington DC, Association. Dated May,

3. Shapiro, James. Dec. 12, 1997. University libraries: the
7-per-cent solution. Chronicle of Higher Education. XLIV(16),

4. Price, Derek J. de Solla. 1961. Science since Babylon.
New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1961. enl. ed. 1975  p. 175.

5. Weiner, T.  August 24, 1999. Lobbying for Research Money,
Colleges Bypass Peer Review. The New York Times. A1,A12.
"Critics Say Politics Distorts Priorities of Science"

6.  Henderson, Albert. 1999. Information science and
information policy. The use of constant dollars and other
indicators to manage research investments. Journal of the
American Society for Information Science. 50:366-379.

7. U.S. Executive Office of the President. Office of
Management and Budget. 1995. Principles for Determining
Costs Applicable to Grants, Contracts, and Other
Agreements with Educational Institutions. Circular A-21.
Rev. June 20, 1995. Section F8 (Identification and
assignment of indirect costs. Library expenses)

8.  White, H. S. 1980.  Factors in the Decision by
Individuals And Libraries to Place or Cancel Subscriptions
to Scholarly and Research Journals. Library Quarterly
50:287-309. Partial abstract: Using outside funds such as
grants to purchase subscriptions was reported by 8 percent
of 750 individuals. The cancellation of library
subscriptions accounted for just over 1 percent of responses
by individuals. Roughly 20 percent indicated they formerly
used a library copy, but this had become impractical. The
disappearance of outside funds, such as grants, accounted
for cancellation of journals by near 7 percent of respondents.
The number one reason for library cancellations was given as
budget curtailments.

9. Campbell, Paulette Walker. May 7, 1999. NIH may use the
Internet to distribute findings of research financed by its
grants. Chronicle of Higher Education. 45(35):A33.  "N.I.H.
Director Harold E. Varmus told lawmakers ... researchers spend
hundreds of dollars of their N.I.H. awards on subscriptions to
scientific journals."

10. National Enquiry into Scholarly Communication. 1979. Scholarly
Communication. The Report. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University

11. Chronicle of Higher Education. Nov. 26,1999. Pay and benefits.
Research institutions  I & II, 1998. XLVI:A44ff

12. Machlup, Fritz. 1962. The Production and Distribution of
Knowledge in the United States. Princeton: University Press.
"'Productivity of R&D' thus comes to refer to the ultimate
output increments (or input economies) in the areas in which
the new knowledge, the  direct output of R&D, is applied."
"...R&D expenditures are investment, and the incremental
outputs (or economies) attributable to the application of the
R&D findings are return." p. 188

13. Eisenhower, Dwight D. Jan. 17, 1961. Farewell Address.

14. Nelson, Cary. April 16, 1999. The war against faculty.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 45(32):B4 "National disciplinary
organizations must shift their focus from creating professional
opportunities to active monitoring of the higher-education