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-Guidelines for Journal Usage (Albert Henderson) Marcia Tuttle 08 Jul 1996 18:22 UTC

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 6 Jul 1996 01:39:59 EDT
From: Albert Henderson <70244.1532@COMPUSERVE.COM>
Subject: -Guidelines for Journal Usage

 Dan Lester <DLESTER@BSU.IDBSU.EDU> made some good comments:

> I can give you an example regarding research scientists, guys who have
> received hundreds of thousands in grants for research in their fields.
> They said that we just HAD TO HAVE a particular journal in their field
> that cost $6500 per year.  We said that we didn't have the money,
> especially since NO ONE else in their large department besides these two
> cared about it, but had dozens of other requests for less expensive
> journals in the queue.  We came to an agreement that we'd put money in a
> special account with CARL Uncover so that they could order any articles
> they wanted from the journal.  We trained them on Uncover (which is VERY
> simple in case you've never tried it).  We trained their GAs on Uncover.
> They have internet connected PCs on their desks and fax machines in their
> offices, so they have the ultimate in convenience and the perfect price:
> free to them.  In over two years they've ordered less than 500 dollars
> worth of articles, but they still complain that Uncover "is hard to use",
> despite that we train freshmen successfully to use it every day. What I'm
> sure they mean is "I don't wanna change, dammit, and the library has to do
> it my way or else."  Well, times change, like it or not, and they'll have
> to adapt.  I do NOT feel sorry for them.
> That's right.  If I can satisfy hundreds of undergraduates for 6500 worth
> of journals they need to complete assigned lessons, I'll do that before I
> satisfy one PhD researcher who balks at trying something newer and better
> and faster, who won't contribute any research overhead funds, and is a
> consistent _prima dona_ and world class whiner.

UnCover is great if you have the cite. It is no substitute for a
subscription. I have used UnCover and it was clear from the first that the
database ignores plenty of important editorial stuff such as letters,
abstracts, notices, editorials, etc. The menu interface is equally
primitive. I think your scientists should take their hundreds of thousands
of dollars worth of grants to a university that will provide them with
sufficient support and the respect that deserve so they can do their
research effectively. By the way, if they bring such grants and can have
so many thousands of dollars worth of office equipment, why is $6500 such
a big deal for a subscription that will probably save them many times that
cost in preparation of proposals, labor, data collection, etc.?

> Well, if your boss told you to cut $200,000 in journals, what would you
> do?  Try to put the orders through anyway?  Tell him or her to go to hell?
> Refuse to do it?  Quit in protest? Somehow I doubt it.  And the boss is in
> the same situation. And, for that matter, so is the VP and the President
> if the Board or the Legislature has ordered the cuts.  Sometimes there IS
> no choice.  You may not realize that the only free money in university
> budgets is for "capital expenditures" and "supplies" and "temporary help".
> There is usually little in supplies or temporary help, so the big chunks
> are "capital expenditures", which in most states includes books.  Non temp
> staff can NOT be cut quickly, as they have legally enforcable contracts or
> have protection under Civil Service or other laws.  Therefore, the
> researchers who want equipment and the library materials budget are what
> take the biggest hit.
>  And, until there are major legal changes, which seems unlikely, it will
> continue the same way.

All you say is true. I do not think that the professional associations
that claim to represent the interests of scientists and librarians have
been doing as much as they could. Why shouldn't the administrative sector
take the biggest hit?  The phrase "faculty revolt" has been bandied about,
but I don't think anyone takes it seriously. Perhaps it is embarrassing
for a scientist or instructor to publicly say, "I cannot do my job without
essential journals in the library." However, I have heard it with my own
ears and I have seen it ignored by the university.

>> Tony Stankus has recommended talking, personally, to each faculty member
>> and negotiating each journal of interest that might be canceled.

> Well, when you figure out how to do that, and figure out how to get the
> differing opinions (as indicated above) even within a discipline
> reconciled, and multiply that by 50 or more departments, write us an
> article on your secret and become loved by librarians.  Over the years
> I've had more than one resolution by the department sent to the library,
> saying "we can't decide what to cut, you decide it".  So we did.  And of
> course they still bitched while conveniently forgetting that they'd been
> asked and had decided not to decide.

I think that you really have to talk, face to face. I was impressed by
MANAGEMENT, edited by Tony Stankus (Haworth 1987) as well as his other
books on MAKING SENSE OF JOURNALS ... also Haworth.

>> Never mind publishers. My question is do you sympathize with researchers,
>> students and faculty? Does your library collection enable or limit their
>> opportunities? Do the members of your university have a say in how the
>> budget is drawn?

> Yes, I sympathize with some researchers, with many faculty, and with most
> students.  Your second question is unanswerable as it is stated.  We do
> everything possible within limits of budget and staff to get people what
> they need, AND what they want.  Of course we don't facilitate them as well
> when their needs are urgent due to their own procrastination or
> incompetence, simply because those needs are often impossible to fill.
> (In case you aren't aware of it, the people with last minute needs,
> writing the term paper the night before it is due, are NOT figments of
> librarians' imaginations.

Procrastination is an academic specialty, to be sure.

>> Increases in the volume of publications are generated by increased
>> research expenditures, not by publishers. Why haven't library expenditures
>> kept pace with research spending??

> I give up, why?  Again, if you have the magic answer to that problem, let
> us know.  As soon as we know it we'll order more journals from you.  AND,
> you'll be famous and revered in the library world.

The reason librarians don't have enough money is because the tendency of
administrative bureaucracies (which control the budgets) is to indulge
itself and promote its own expansion at the expense of all else, as
described by Max Weber long ago. These managers have bamboozled the
academic professionals and, what's more, have set educators against
researchers so they would ignore the real wolves in the henhouse. I also
think that many librarians have been far to quick to promise substitutes
to good collections without thinking through all of the consequences to
research and education. This has enabled the money addicts to 'drink'
themselves and the university into oblivion.

My view is that the problem will not be solved until the professional
associations stand up for their members. This is really not a "library"
issue. It is a research and an education issue. Librarians and library
associations should stop promising electronic miricles and take the
predicament to the discipline-oriented societies and demand that library
funding be put on their agenda.

By the way, researchers made a very big deal out of decrepit facilities
and obsolete equipment 15-20 years ago and the situation was remedied.

Thanks for responding.