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Re: Open Letter to Research Councils UK: Rebuttal of ALPSP Critique Albert Henderson 24 Aug 2005 00:46 UTC

on 23 Aug 2005 "Hamaker, Chuck" <cahamake@EMAIL.UNCC.EDU> wrote:

> As usual in mentioning LSU's cancellations Al Henderson mis-represents
> key elements of what was achieved. LSU subscribed to new journal titles
> AND enhanced access to other titles through unmediated document delivery
> as a result of the cancellations. There was little evidence that the
> cancelled titles harmed the collection in any way.

	Congratulations to Chuck for making the
	best of a miserable, selfish management

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

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

		Library		Federal
	Year	Materials	R&D
		($000,000)	($000,000)
	1983	3.31		18.79
	1984	2.89		20.82
	1985	3.13		26.09
	1986	3.39		27.81
	1987	3.49		36.50
	1988	3.37		38.88
	1989	3.31		39.09
	1990	3.35		40.89
	1991	3.30		55.95
	1992	4.48		49.21
	1993	3.15		58.20
	1994	2.98		67.69

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

	I certainly would think twice about
	sending any serious student or
	researcher there. If I were at a federal
	science agency I would look closely to
	ascertain if collections were up-to-date
	and complete, if research proposals were
	based on the latest research, and if
	research in progress was responsive to
	latest developments.

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

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

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

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

	Thanks for the comment.

	Best wishes,

Albert Henderson

-----Original Message-----
From: SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum
[mailto:SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Albert Henderson
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2005 9:08 AM
Subject: [SERIALST] Open Letter to Research Councils UK: Rebuttal of
ALPSP Critique

Dear Serialst

While sharing a vision of open access to information by
researchers at no cost beyond belonging to a library, I
believe that the behavior of university budget managers
over the last 50 years contradicts the following claim:

> The disastrous scenario predicted by ALPSP is that an RCUK mandate
would cause
> libraries to cancel subscriptions, which would in turn lead to the
financial failure
> of scholarly journals, and so to the collapse of the quality control
and peer review
> process that publishers manage.
> Not only are these claims unsubstantiated, but all the evidence to
> shows the reverse to be true: not only do journals thrive and co-exist
> author self-archiving, but they can actually benefit from it -- both
in terms of
> more citations and more subscriptions.

The fact is that the four percent of academic libraries
that control 40% of spending provide an economic base
for the scientific record.

As soon as plain paper photocopies became available and
interlibrary borrowing became legal substitutes for
paid subscriptions, these major research universities
cut their library spending, systematically whittling it
by more than half. One engineering school, Stevens
Institute, bragged it had cut all subscriptions, intending
to exist on loans. LSU turned down the same path. Not only
have subscriptions been decimated, the viability of the
scholarly monograph has been called into question. Perhaps
the worst insult to libraries was the closing of its
historic school of library science by Columbia University,
on grounds of poor profitability.

The claim of finance managers to have no money is simply
bogus in very many cases. As a matter of public record,
the profitability of all higher education institutions
increased by roughly the same percentage as they saved
by cuts to library spending, as reported to the US
Department of Education (see upcoming AGAINST THE GRAIN).

Albert Henderson

(ABC-CLIO 2002)

More reading:

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.
Online PDF version
DOI 10.1002/(SICI)1097-4571(1999)50:4<366::AID-ASI15>3.0.CO;2-3

Day, Colin. 1999. The economics of publishing: the consequences
of library and research copying. Journal of the American Society
for Information Science. 50(14):1346-1349.