Re: Institutional versus personal subscriptions Ian Woodward 02 Jun 2006 17:58 UTC
"I think the question should be: Why are science libraries not recognized in the nation's growing science R&D spending?" Some years ago I attended a lecture by Francis Rourke, a political scientist who specialized in the study of public administration. He explained that all of the attempts over a generation at incorporating some sort of 'mind' into the process of public budgeting in the federal government ("Planning, Programming, Budgeting System", "Management by Objectives"; "Zero Base Budgeting") had failed and that the politicians had defaulted to a policy of making ad hoc adjustments (upward or downward) to a 'baseline'. That is certainly how my boss saw his tasks during the years in which I was a government employee. I do not imagine it is much different with philanthropies, which also lack the operational measures of competence that businesses have. Taken together, decisions on expenditures (by administrators or librarians) may be ultimately arbitrary or driven by factors that the salient actors themselves do not fully comprehend.. My institution is not Stanford, but our faculty have been expected, for about thirty years now, to research and publish if they wished to receive tenure or promotion. Use by students tends to be concentrated in the life sciences (in which I include general psychology), but is considerable. Your description of colleges and universities chronically short-changing the purchase of scientific and technical literature makes reference to a state-of-the-world I do not recognize. If you look at the distribution of use across our print and electronic resources, the pattern of requests for items via inter-library loan and document delivery, and the portfolio of unfulfilled subscription requests from science faculty, you just do not see that picture. Resources could be more optimally deployed (any failures with regard to which are not the associate provost's fault), but the utility of pegging library expenditures to an index derived from nominal R & D spending or total institutional spending is a dubious one. IW I. Woodward Serials Office Colgate University Libraries 201L McGregory Hall 13 Oak Drive Hamilton, N.Y. 13346 Ph.: 315-228-7306 Fax: 315-228-7029 -----Original Message----- From: SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum [mailto:SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of ALBERT HENDERSON Sent: Friday, June 02, 2006 10:22 AM To: SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU Subject: Re: [SERIALST] Institutional versus personal subscriptions on 1 Jun 2006 Kim Maxwell <kmaxwell@MIT.EDU> wrote: > I could easily be wrong about this, so please no one quote me. But I think > the institutional price is the "real" price of the subscription, and the > individual price is deeply discounted so that individuals can purchase their > own copies. If someone out there knows better than I, please do correct me. Having studied prices of a number of publishers, I would say this is essentially correct. Projections forward are based on the institutional price. The member or individual prices need cover only the added cost of producing and mailing an additional copy. Practical approaches to this theory may vary. ACS in the 1970s set its member prices at 1/4 the institutional prices. As a membership organization, it enforced anti-leakage of member copies as a member benefit with possible loss of membership as a penalty. ACS was sued by IRS, who claimed the discount was 'inurement,' jeapordizing its nonprofit status. It was rumored that university lobbies were behind the IRS complaint. To make a long story short, the IRS lost. My analysis of the consequences, if the IRS had won, was that there would be no more subscriptions at the member price. In other words, the institutional price is the 'real' price. On Behalf Of Thomas, Susan Elaine wrote: > > Has anyone ever asked why libraries are asked to pay more in > the first place? Why are publishers allowed to charge > libraries more? Is the product that libraries receive > somehow more enhanced than the individual subscription? Is > it in a better binding? Are libraries essentially being > asked to pay more for the same product because we never said > no to the higher rate in the first place? Has anyone tried > to say no to the institutional rate? What would happen? > Would the publisher say I am not sending you the > subscription? What if we all said no collectively? The research universities that dominate spending on scientific journals started cutting their library budgets around 1970, resulting in thousands of subscription cancellations. Publishers, faced with exponential increases in journal articles, simply raised their rates to cover increased production + CPI + the declining value of the dollar. I think the question should be: Why are science libraries not recognized in the nation's growing science R&D spending? Best wishes, Sincerely, Albert Henderson, former Editor PUBLISHING RESEARCH QUARTERLY 1994-2000.