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-Guidelines for Journal Usage (Albert Henderson) Marcia Tuttle 10 Jul 1996 12:03 UTC

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 9 Jul 1996 23:32:12 EDT
From: Albert Henderson <70244.1532@COMPUSERVE.COM>
Subject: -Guidelines for Journal Usage

Susan Zappen <szappen@SKIDMORE.EDU> writes:>

> I have participated in the university budget and planning process in a
> previous position. Blaming the university administration is easy. When
> times are tough and money tight, it seems natural to look for someone to
> blame. Countries do it. Political leaders do it. The belief that the
> administrative sector is growing at the expense of the academic sector has
> not proved true at the universities I have been affiliated with.

The summary figures published by the U.S. Dept. of Education show
administrative costs rose faster and higher than any other catagory during
the 1980s while libraries and instruction took a real beating. Library
expenditure growth fell far behind research expenditures. I will mail you
my analysis.


> Perhaps publishers need to be more selective in what they choose to
> publish.

Publishers exercise considerable review boards for quality control.

> I've been told by both scholars and editors that much of what is
> published is drivel, that there is a pecking order among journals within a
> discipline --- so that if rejected one place, resubmit to the next in
> line.

This may be the reason that Henry Kissinger said that there is no politics
more petty than academic politics. How many of your sources claimed their
own publications are drivel?

> Faculty need to address the quantity vs. quality issue in
> publications for tenure -- five articles of quality rather than
> twenty-five articles saying the same thing in a different way. Document
> delivery (rather than bound volumes on a shelf) does show what is valued
> by others!

You are right but you ignore the solution. Expert analyses of samples of
the primary literature have rejected 30 to 80 percent of it as being
poorly prepared. Preparation takes substantial library research.
Researchers have been asking for review articles, monographs,
bibliographies, and other "secondary" publications that evaluate and
summarize primary research. As a result of the impoverished library market
and demands for electronic products, publishers have cut their coverage
rather than expanding it. Total numbers of monographs in some fields has
actually been falling, while numbers of researchers and research
expenditures climb, because of the weak library market.

> Administrative bloat and faculty revolt are red herrings.

The GAO audit turned up a lot of real abuses of "indirect" cost claims at
some major universities. These administrative peccadillos are quite real
and expensive, in my opinion. They certainly cost the research community
plenty of money that was refunded to the Treasury when it could have been
used for collection development.

> Most librarians
> recognize them as such. We are looking for new and better ways to provide
> our communities with the information they need. In many instances that
> means cancelling print subscriptions and relying upon electronic access
> and document delivery. I think what we are doing is positive, practical,
> and exciting. It is certainly preferably to stomping our feet and
> demanding more money.

You need more money.  Researchers deserve the best possible information
resources. The people who underwrite university expenditures deserve the
most cost-effective research and education. They cannot get it by sucking
resources out of their libraries.


Thanks for responding.

Albert Henderson,