Re: Invoking Cloture (Again) on "Serials Crisis = Library Underfunding -- Dan Lester Stephen Clark 20 Sep 2002 17:55 UTC
-------- Original Message -------- Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 11:11:22 -0600 From: Dan Lester <email@example.com> Organization: RiverOfData.com Subject: Re: Invoking Cloture (Again) on "Serials Crisis = Library Underfunding -- Albert Henderson Friday, September 20, 2002, 7:02:11 AM, you wrote: SC> -------- Original Message -------- SC> Date: Thu, 19 Sep 2002 17:50:51 -0400 SC> From: Albert Henderson <chessNIC@compuserve.com> SC> I have been told repeatedly by faculty of public SC> institutions that any part of the budget that is SC> not spent goes back to the treasury. That is true. And as a result, institutions do their best to make sure nothing goes back to the state general fund. I've worked in seven state universities in seven states, and such was true in all. I believe it to be so in the other 43 states as well. In some states the university may be able to "roll over" a small amount in some or all years, but those are generally quite limited. SC> In these SC> institutions, it appears that endowments and SC> foundations are outside the university proper. Yes, they are, for a variety of legal reasons, as prescribed by the IRS and others. SC> Nonetheless, it would not be unreasonable to SC> challenge those universities that have cut SC> their library spending from 6 per cent to 3 SC> in spite of endowments over $1 billion. I think they are all challenged by their faculty, staff and students, to say nothing of their broader constituencies. In public universities in particular there is great pressure at present from taxpayers who want tax cuts, particularly since so many of them are unemployed or haven't seen raises recently. Of course the same is true of those of us who are public employees. I've received no raise this year, and don't expect any next year, though there is a little talk of a maximum of two percent, which will probably never make it through the legislature or the governor. The university has had a 13 percent budget cut, and the library has been partially protected, so that our reduction is less. This also goes along with a four percent increase in enrollment. I'm sure that the conditions in Idaho are not atypical. At this point we'd be happy to be where we were a couple of years ago, and don't have any realistic hope of ever seeing six percent (which I don't think we had even back in the "good old days" when I was still working in another state. Note that I'm not whining about any of this. When you've worked in the public sector for four decades you get used to things bouncing around at the whim of the elected and the voters. SC> The institutional conflicts of interest are major. SC> In particular, how can the taxpayer trust agencies SC> that award research grants? They are managed by SC> individuals who expect research contractors to SC> hire them once their tour in the public sector ends. 98 percent of taxpayers don't know anything about agencies that award research grants. They do know about their property and sales taxes, their mortgage or rent, their credit card debt, the cost of their kid's college tuition, the cost of milk at Safeway or Albertsons or Kroger. They're clueless on most of the stuff that those of us on this list know and worry about. In the same way, most of us are clueless about their conditions on the road crew or on the factory floor. SC> As a result of the casual approach to information, SC> the preparation of research proposals is shallow SC> and peer review is ineffective -- as the death of SC> a research subject at Johns Hopkins demonstrates. Well, that certainly isn't the fault of the libraries or librarians. Scholar, heal thyself. SC> It seems to me that the services of a medical SC> librarian would have saved that life. It might have. And I'm sure it wasn't because there wasn't a librarian available to help with the research, either. Again, scholar or physician, heal thyself. SC> I treated the conflicts more extensively in an SC> article titled "Undermining Peer Review" in SC> SOCIETY [38(2):47-54. 2001] Fine. That, however, isn't the topic we're discussing, as far as I can tell. SC> Yes they did! Publishers invested heavily in SC> review series, translations, and new journals SC> seeking to meet the needs of emerging specialties. I agree with this. SC> The first electronic publishers were the SC> information services in the sciences, many SC> distributed by Lockheed Dialog. The citation SC> index was developed by Eugene Garfield and SC> sold as part of ISI a few years ago. The record SC> is quite clear on all these points. And this. (See, we're not always at odds, are we?) However, publishers don't seem to be willing to kill off the journals that aren't needed, don't have a market, or were bad business decisions from the beginning. A few do die, my favorite in my profession being the Australasian Journal of Serials Librarianship, which probably told how to check in journals while upside down on the bottom side of the world. But, many more certainly deserve to die, and if libraries don't subscribe, or cancel, to some of the incredibly overpriced and overspecialized journals, perhaps more will. SC> The function of libraries, selecting, conserving, SC> and disseminating the work of publishers is SC> also essential to productivity in research and SC> education. Absolutely. And we continue to do that to the best of our ability with the resources that we're given. We DO continue to fight for more resources. When you come up with the magic method for getting legislators to give us more money, let me know. We'll jointly patent it and we'll both retire fat and sassy, and have plenty of money to give to our favorite libraries. SC> Why would you oppose a demand for universities SC> to spend 6 percent of their budgets on libraries SC> as they once did? I certainly don't oppose fighting for more money. However, going to an administrator or legislator and asking for a doubled budget would get me laughed out of his office. But I'd certainly ask for more, do participate in our library association Legislative Day, participate in the association, and so forth. So far the results have been dismal, but we keep tilting at the windmill, and will undoubtedly do so until our last days. cheers dan -- Dan Lester, Data Wrangler dan@RiverOfData.com 208-283-7711 3577 East Pecan, Boise, Idaho 83716-7115 USA www.riverofdata.com www.gailndan.com Stop Global Whining!