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Re: Elsevier Gives Authors Green Light for Open Access Self-Archiving Albert Henderson 01 Jun 2004 18:44 UTC

On Mon, 31 May 2004, Joseph J. Esposito wrote (on liblicense)

> 1.  Does anyone know of any library cancellations of journals because of
> the availability of some or all of the articles in such journals in self-
> or institutional archives?  I do not know of any such cancellations
> myself, but I wonder if I am once again embarrassingly underinformed.

        Someone would first have to do a study that
        connected cancellations with open access. The
        problem is that the literature is dominated
        by open access promoters whose evidence can
        hardly be said to be objective.

        What evidence we do have is:

        [A] the failure of library spending to keep
        pace with the growth of academic R&D spending
        and output, leading to massive cuts in library
        coverage during the last 35 years.

        [B] the continued promotion of open access by
        university managers who claim to be offended
        by rising subscription prices (but not by rising
        R&D spending, by cuts in library spending, or by
        rising university profitability). Why would
        they connect open access with subscription prices
        if they did not see financial efficiencies
        promised by more cancellations?

        The massive number of cancellations and cuts in
        book acquisitions has never been directly
        connected by a study to the rising popularity of
        library photocopying. Nonetheless, the connection
        was obvious to many testifying to the Librarian of
        Congress re the 1976 Copyright Law and in later

        My statistical study of the ratio of interlibrary
        borrowing to collection size (i.e. access to
        ownership) may help us to understand the
        performance of collections as well as the impact
        of the "access" technology. [The library collection
        failure quotient. Journal of Academic Librarianship.
        26,3:159-170. 2000] By the gold standard of library
        patrons finding what they want when they want it,
        university policies have created a bottleneck in the
        flow of knowledge. The mean ratio of interlibrary
        borrowing to collection size of 80 major research
        universities doubled 1974 to 1998 as universities
        cut their libraries' share of spending by half.
        The trend in library spending justified by
        technology has surely had negative impacts on
        readers, authors, librarians, and publishers.

        Open access might solve readers' problems as
        well as relieve libraries of costly interlibrary
        borrowing. However, authors are generally not
        interested and publishers are reluctant to provide
        new technological support for more loss of business.

        Best wishes,

Albert Henderson
Pres., Chess Combination Inc.
POB 2423 Bridgeport CT 06608-0423