Re: Top 10 reasons why print journals have a future

From: Albert Henderson <chessNIC_at_COMPUSERVE.COM>
Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2001 20:37:18 -0400

on Sat, 7 Apr 2001 "J.W.T.Smith" <J.W.T.Smith_at_UKC.AC.UK> wrote:

> This may be slightly off-topic but for many hard science subjects (in both
> UK and US universities) the cost of journal subscriptions can be 90 or
> more percent of their library budget. In this case the 'flea' has almost
> consumed the 'dog'.

The priorities of libraries spending were forced into view
by ruthless cuts in university spending on their libraries.
Universities that proudly devoted 6 percent of their
spending on libraries in the 1960s now part with less than
3 percent. In the UK, statistics reported by the Universities
Funding Council and the Publishers Association reported a
similar drop. While cancelling thousands of journal
subscriptions, these institutions also cut back on purchases
of books. In 1992, Ann Okerson and Ken Stubbs projected this
trend and offered this conclusion: "If the curve were
extended even further, by 2007 ARL libraries would stop
buying books entirely, and only purchase serials; by 2017
they would buy nothing ...." (Publishers Weekly 239,34
(July 27) p 22-23)

In the meantime, profits of all higher education
institutions in the US doubled. Among the private
research universities, unspent income has averaged 20
to 25% of total revenues in recent years.

> Yet another reason we need a fundamental change in the distribution of
> research results and related forms of academic publishing. The current
> system is not only illogical its also expensive.

The expense to the sponsors of research resulting from
ignorance, insularity, duplication, and error is likely
to be far greater than the potential for library spending.
The damage to library dissemination undermines authorship,
peer review, and the training of researchers. Research
proposals are made and OKed without the benefit of a
comprehensive review of what's been done. In spite of
guidelines established by editors, results and reported
and conclusions drawn without such a review.

Most of the erosion of effective preparation and
dissemination has resulted from the short-sightedness of
administrators willing to sacrifice excellence. The
fundamental change needed would be new leadership that
values quality in research and education over retained

Moreover, most of the innovation in effective dissemination
for over 300 years has come from entrepreneurs -- not
bureaucrats. The "e-" revolution -- which includes hardware
as well as software -- is a pretty good example of the
fertile contributions of private investment.

Best wishes,

Albert Henderson

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

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