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-Guidelines for Journal Usage (Dan Lester) Marcia Tuttle 10 Jul 1996 17:08 UTC

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 10 Jul 1996 09:58:45 -0600
Subject: -Guidelines for Journal Usage (Albert Henderson) -Reply

Well, I think I may have figured it out.  I'd thought there were some
contradictory things in Albert's comments, but hadn't correlated them all.
Now he appears to have done it for me himself.

Date: Tue, 9 Jul 1996 23:32:12 EDT
From: Albert Henderson
Subject: -Guidelines for Journal Usage

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.

I don't disagree with that.  But, as previously pointed out, thanks to the
vagaries of laws and regulations in most states, the ONLY areas that can
be legally cut is frequently "capital expenditures", which means two
things: library materials and equipment.

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

Publishers exercise considerable review boards for quality control.

............cutting more out here...............

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?

.........more cuts...............

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.


Bingo!  Albert has gone on about how much research is poorly
prepared......right after he has told us about the wonderful "review
boards for quality control", the growing research dollars, and so forth.
Well, if most of the research is poorly prepared, if there are no library
dollars to facilitate the research, if the publishers' reviewers and
boards don't know well done research from bad, then maybe the solution is
to cut research funding.  Heresy?  Of course.  Said tongue in cheek?  Not
really.  Sometimes heresy is the right answer.

Researchers have been asking for review articles, monographs,
bibliographies, and other "secondary" publications that evaluate and
summarize primary research.

True enough, but much of that is driven by those who are into the current
trendy field of meta-analysis, with which I'm pretty familiar.  I'm not
knocking meta-analysis, Gene Glass, or anyone else....but like other
trendy things, it isn't the final answer to the world's problems either.

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.

Well, since we've been told that 30-80 percent of it is crap, and we
apparently can't trust either the academicicans (many of whom have told me
that their is plenty of mutual back scratching going on, big
surprise....and I can confirm this by personal experience) or the
publishers (who are after money, just in a different way than gaining
tenure), maybe this cutting back is good.  If we indeed trim the fat and
not the meat (though that is questionable considering what Albert has told
us), then that sounds good to me.

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.

Once again, big deal.  I'm not supporting such nonsense, but
percentage-wise it is small.  And, is it really any worse than the fifty
dollar dinner a sales rep for XYZ press buys for me at ALA or the 900 a
nite suite they throw their party in or the thousands of dollars of free
booze and munchies given away at their party?  If the latter is part of
the "cost of doing business", then maybe the former is too.  Yeah, more
heresy, but think about it.  o-)

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.

No argument.  But I've yet to hear an answer as to HOW this happens.
Talking to faculty is NOT the answer, as has been told by many on this
list.  Faculty are only slightly less powerless than librarians.  Should
we all quit in protest? Should we have a good old sit-in in the
President's Office? (sorry, been there, done that, don't do it no more)
Should we start spreading nasty rumors about the Financial VP that I
mentioned the other day (NOTE: NOT at this university!) just because he's
been there thirty years, won't give the library research money, and has
the President and the Board in his pocket?  No, he never did anything
illegal, I'm quite sure.  He just ran the institution by controlling the
pursestrings.  The Board loved it, as he was NEVER over budget, and always
returned a little.  o-(

So, I think we agree on the majority of the motherhood and applepie and
flagwaving stuff.  We don't agree on where the problem is or how to solve
it.  I'm in complete agreement that half of the stuff published is purest
crap.  That includes half the literature in library and information
science.  That includes some stuff I've published over the years.  That
even includes half the stuff on any LISTSERV on the nets, even the
moderated ones.  Maybe we either agree to accept that as a fact of life,
and then get on with doing what librarians do...trying to pick the best
stuff, make it available to their users, and reject the rest....and to
forget about the whining of publishers and others.  If half the publishers
in the world, including half the university presses, go out of business,
who cares?  Not me.  It would probably be an improvement.  It is the way
things are in the business world.  Many of the once great have fallen on
hard times (Chrysler, Apple, IBM, etc, etc) and none of them are
guaranteed greatness forever, just like is the case with mere mortals.
Even my "greenest" friends aren't arguing against letting some species die
out....such as a bushel of useless businesses.


Dan Lester, Network Information Coordinator
Boise State University Library, Boise, Idaho, 83725 USA
voice: 208-385-1235   fax:  208-385-1394     OR
Cyclops' Internet Toolbox:
"How can one fool make another wise?"   Kansas, 1979.