Re: Science 4 September on Copyright

From: Arthur Smith <apsmith_at_APS.ORG>
Date: Tue, 15 Sep 1998 21:50:00 -0400

Finally some real numbers...

Harnad asks also about growth. With doubling every decade,
the number of published articles probably grew
a factor of 10 or more (probably significantly more because
of the rise of the biological sciences) between 1960 and 1995.

Taking Albert Henderson's numbers as a rough guide:

On Tue, 15 Sep 1998 07:18:59 -0400, Albert Henderson <> wrote:

>Between 1960, when the first plain paper copier was commercialized and
>1995, U.S. academic R&D (constant dollars) increased nearly seven
>times. Spending for 41 of the largest research university libraries
>increased only 4.13 times (also constant dollars). If there is a
>problem in modern dissemination, it falls from this huge imbalance.
>The neglect of dissemination by science policy has affected the quality
>o f research. For a detailed article on "the incoherence of science
>policy," see the current (S/O) issue of SOCIETY.

indicates that we are now publishing at least 10x as many articles
for only 4x the cost to libraries - ie. costs per article have DROPPED
in constant dollars by at least 60 percent over the last 35 years, but costs
of research journals have quadrupled. This certainly agress with what little I
know about long-term trends in costs. It's well known that the serials
crisis has been brought on by the huge growth in the number of scientific
articles published - now we have a second reason (a drop in library
funding) - the problem is laid squarely back at the door of the researchers
and their institutions!

Now in the next 10 years, if we see another 60-70 percent drop in
per-article publication costs, what will libraries do with the savings
(if any this time)?

           Arthur (
Received on Tue Aug 25 1998 - 19:17:43 BST

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