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-Guidelines for Journal Usage (Albert Henderson) Marcia Tuttle 11 Jul 1996 12:22 UTC

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 10 Jul 1996 17:58:04 EDT
From: Albert Henderson <70244.1532@COMPUSERVE.COM>
Subject: -Guidelines for Journal Usage

 Dan Lester <DLESTER@BSU.IDBSU.EDU> writes:

> 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
>> <70244.1532@COMPUSERVE.COM>
>> 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.

While the library collection is truly a physical asset in many ways (and
the most obvious feature that distinguishes a research university from a
trade school), library materials are reported as a part of educational and
general operating expenditures. The capital stuff is usually supplied by
the building trades, not by publishers, booksellers, and subscription

>> 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.

Peer reviewers, including those that decide what research to underwrite,
are stuck with the same poor information resources as the grant writers.
If we can improve the information resource, we can improve the
cost-effectiveness of research and you won't have to be a heretic any

If only ten percent of the $14 billion contributed to academic R&D by the
Federal government could be saved by doubling library materials
expenditures at universities, we would break even. Actually, I am
suggesting an improvement in productivity rather than a cut in Federal
support. Libraries could spend it any way they felt wise.

I also think it would be a wise policy for the Fed to invite more grants
for library research, to evaluate the work that has been done and
published. We would need some good library collections, but the result
would be better productivity all round.

>> 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.

You're too young to remember that this was included in the Recommendations
of the Royal Society [of London] Scientific Information Conference, 1948,
long before meta-analysis became trendy.

>> 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.

No, the cutting-back policies have so far simply increased the amount of
library research that a researcher must do (or skip) in preparing new

>> 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-)

I was talking about routine mistakes made by people who wouldn't know
"research" from "resell," not business grease. The October 1991 enumerated
50 unallowable indirect cost items, including alcoholic beverages, alumni
activities, deans of faculty and graduate schools, donated services and
property, lobbying, fines and penalties, investment management, sabattical
leave, severance pay, taxes, travel, trustees. It gives you a pretty good
idea how far off accounting can go.

[All this time they were telling the libraries they had to cancel
subscription because they had no money.]

The scandal, which never mentioned the trampling of the library budget,
was sufficient embarrassment to cause the resignation of the president of
Stanford University in 1991 who I suspect never looked over the shoulder
of the bookkeeper during his 11 years in office. Stanford refunded more
than $3 million, quite a bit less than the original $230 million that the
Navy originally had claimed was overbilled. Stanford was not the only
contractor reviewed. There were more than a dozen, but none of the others
got the full treatment.

Your comment suggests that this truly careless treatment -- abuse -- of
academic interests by bookkeepers may have an organic link to bribes and
booty in terms of the betrayal of trust and selfish motivations that are
involved. You may be right. You can't be just a little bit pregnant.
> =======================

>> 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-(

The professional associations that have been chartered to represent the
interests of their members in the promotion and dissemination have
considerable explaining to do, it seems to me. They have not been living
up to their mission statements. If they have been simply coasting, they
might well face a challenge to their nonprofit status. Of course, it is up
to the members to urge them into action.

If a faculty senate is more than a rubber stamp of administrative policy,
then faculty should have a local voice as well.


Thanks for your comments.