Re: Library cancelations

From: Albert Henderson <NobleStation_at_COMPUSERVE.COM>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 19:34:42 -0400

on 27 Sep 1999 Jean-Claude Guédon <jean.claude.guedon_at_UMontreal.CA> wrote:

> I would really like to support Kitty Porter's
> reaction to Mr.Henderson's comment. I do not
> exactly know on what planet Mr. Henderson lives,
> but it certainly is not on mine. University
> profits? A wonderful oxymoron in my opinion.

Wake up and smell the coffee. The CHRONICLE OF
HIGHER EDUCATION recited the numbers last year.
(Oct 23, 1998:A39-58) Duke reported $200 million
revenue after expenses and cut its library
spending (according to ARL statistics) by $168
thousand. Princeton's profit was $268 million,
while cutting the library $376 thousand. Chicago
had $130 million profit and cut its library by
$1.2 million. Other universities also reported
multimillion dollar profits and gave their
libraries increases ranging from 1% to 13%.

The total excess of revenue over spending for
39 research universities totaled $8.5 billion.

> Elsevier and other greedy publishers ensure 40%
> profit rates

Which official financial report is the source of
this 40% profit figure?

              and "soothe" university libraries'
> anxieties by telling them that they are going
> to make the price increases predictable (of
> the order of 10-15% per year while the inflation
> rate is a small fraction of this) rather than
> containing their own prices.

The largest part of journal price inflation
comes from (A) increased papers and (B) reduced
circulation. If universities dealt with the
former, and maintained some parity of library/R&D
financing, the latter effect would be no problem.

> Let these publishers first behave decently or
> let us do what is needed to drive them out of
> business (by supporting initiatives such as
> Ginsparg's and PubMed Central). They and not
> university administrators are to blame and we
> should not let the likes of Mr. Henderson work
> toward dividing our own house!

Why should American taxpayers subsidize Canadians?
> Profit and market fetishism are really the
plagues of this century!

Yes, universities expanded their profits by cutting
libraries and instruction over the objections of
faculty and faculty senates. They run their financial
goals like a business, with grudging production of
knowledge. What happened to the lux et veritas mission
of research, education, and public service?

Albert Henderson
Received on Wed Feb 10 1999 - 19:17:43 GMT

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