Re: Recent Comments by Albert Henderson

From: Albert Henderson <chessNIC_at_COMPUSERVE.COM>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2001 09:50:42 -0500

on Wed, 24 Jan 2001 Greg Kuperberg <greg_at_MATH.UCDAVIS.EDU> filed the
following compaint about the facilities at the University of California:

> On Tue, Jan 23, 2001 at 09:42:13PM -0500, Albert Henderson wrote:
> > Thank you for asking. You will find them in ELECTRONIC
> > DATABASES AND PUBLISHING (Transaction 1997 ISBN 1-56000-967-5)
> > which I compiled from articles that I edited in PUBLISHING
> > RESEARCH QUARTERLY. The most interesting summary statistics>
> > are to be found in the article by Richard Kaser of NFAIS.
> Entirely apart from whether or not I agree with you, it's not convenient
> for me to read any of your articles in the form that you publish them.
> Some UC campuses have PRQ, but UC Davis cancelled its subscription in
> 1994. It does subscribe to Society magazine, but I haven't been to the
> library in months because the Internet is more convenient. It's hardly
> worth it for me to to bicycle to the library, walk through the aisles,
> and then bicycle back, which takes about a half hour, just for a single
> article that I might skim for 15 minutes. The UC card catalog mentions an
> on-line version of Society, but only Riverside subscribes, and the URL
> seems to be broken anyway. I found another on-line avenue to Society
> with some non-trivial detective work, but it doesn't have your article
> yet and gaining access is complicated. Your book, *Electronic databases
> and publishing*, is also in the UC card catalog, but it isn't at the
> Davis campus either.
> In my opinion, the inadvertent self-censorship of the conservatives is
> as convincing as any direct argument that information wants to be free.
> Stevan and I may disagree strongly on how to best "liberate" the scholarly
> literature. But in keeping with our common ground, everything that we
> have written lately is freely available on the Internet. More people
> would read you if you followed our example.

        Well, this is not news. The University of California is
        notorious for having forsaken knowledge assets in the
        recent decades. The Scripps Insitute of Oceanography
        has pleaded valiantly to keep its library on a part
        with its East Coast rival. Leon Litwak, writing of
        his experience on the academic senate at Berkeley, has
        suggested the condition of the library drives away
        potential applicants.

        Meanwhile, UC blithely reaps more than fifty cents
        for every dollar spent on research with its claims
        of overhead costs. While "Library" is a specific
        allocation under the regulations governing research
        overhead, there seems to be no connection between
        overhead reimbursements and library spending -- or
        even between the rise of academic R&D and efforts
        to conserve its output.

        You are not alone. Universities across the country
        have undermined their faculty and researchers by
        creating a bottleneck, by cutting library spending
        while adding to profits and administrative growth,
        by abusing librarians who are their economic
        captives and by blowing off faculty governance. The
        most outrageous aspect of this quiet campaign has not
        been the acceptance of research sponsorship while
        underminging its effectiveness. It has not been the
        attitude that knowledge is not the responsibility of
        the institution. It has been the avoidance of
        responsibility for your problem by university managers
        since 1970, when they deliberately changed their
        pattern of spending.

        You have my sympathy. Stevan will probably censor
        my posting, as he often does with the claim that
        it is irrelevant. To me, the issues of spending
        and responsibility go to the heart of your problem.
        I will mail you some reprints of my writings that
        have survived the review of journal editors.

        In the meantime, you might be interested to read
        my guest editorial in SCIENCE (289:243 2000). The
        online version features tables on the profits of
        private universities and the reveral of fortunes
        in profits and library spending of higher education
        over recent decades. If you are really interested
        in the statistics of my book, you can probably order
        a copy through interlibrary loan without mounting
        your bicycle.

        Best wishes,

Albert Henderson
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

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