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Re: Open Letter to Research Councils UK: Rebuttal of ALPSP Critique Dan Lester (25 Aug 2005 03:16 UTC)

Re: Open Letter to Research Councils UK: Rebuttal of ALPSP Critique Dan Lester 25 Aug 2005 03:16 UTC

Tuesday, August 23, 2005, 6:46:20 PM, you wrote:

AH>         LSU financed its library appropriately
AH>         for a voc-ag or trade school while
AH> getting
AH>         federal research grants designed to
AH>         generate more and more publications.

AH>         Unlike any other research university that
AH>         reviewed, LSU held its library spending at
AH>         zero growth, around $3.3 million for
AH> years
AH>         while its sponsored research grew from $18
AH>         to $68 million.

I can't say whether your stats are good, bad or indifferent. But as
soon as you find out a magical way to get the people who manage grants
money on campus to give a percentage of the 'overhead' money to the
library. Some libraries have managed it, and I'd love to know the
secret, from Mr. Henderson or anyone else.

AH>         When I first published these figures
AH>         years ago, some assistant-provost-type
AH>         claimed my figures were wrong. I sent
AH>         my data and never heard another word.

Well, you continue to quote data that is ten to twenty years old. How
about some current statistics.  Are you failing to give post-94
numbers because they no longer support your contentions?

AH>         LSU's financial achievements as a
AH> 'research
AH>         university'were at the expense of:

AH>         (A) the commons, since its strategy
AH> caused
AH>         subscription rates paid by other libraries
AH>         to rise:
AH>                 1. because remaining subscribers
AH>                 had to share the burden,

Well, even if there were as few as a hundred subscribers to the
journal, and LSU dropped it, that would only increase the price one
percent.  And somehow that doesn't explain the ten and more percent
increase per year for a vast number of journals.

AH>                 2. by generating increased numbers
AH>                 of articles, adding to production.

Well, I don't buy that at all.  Had the journals ever thought about
being more selective instead of getting ever fatter, and spawning even
more journals?  They could certainly consider it, starting in our own
profession, which publishes significant amounts of crap.

AH>         (B) serious researchers who were forced to
AH>         find articles through secondary
AH> publications
AH>         rather than browse each incoming issue --
AH>         or to pay for their own subscriptions with
AH>         grant monies.

Any serious scholar uses "secondary publications", by which I assume
you mean indexing and abstracting services.  No scholar could ever
browse the current issues of every journal of potential interest. And
of course now they can do so MUCH more easily by doing so online at
the publishers' websites.



Dan Lester, Data Wrangler 208-283-7711
3577 East Pecan, Boise, Idaho  83716-7115 USA  Fair is whatever God decides to do.