Re: PostGutenberg Copyrights and Wrongs for Give-Away Research

From: David Goodman <dgoodman_at_PHOENIX.PRINCETON.EDU>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 19:55:22 -0400

 Quite apart from economic concerns, I think that the
proposals of Harnad et al will give better and faster
information service. Why else
would those researchers and students in fields where they exist
use them ten times as much as the journals in libraries such as ours where
they are both equally available?

Do you really think it fair to characterize me and those who share my
views as "shills"?

David Goodman, Princeton University Biology Library 609-258-3235

On Wed, 27 Jun 2001, Albert Henderson wrote:

> As Thosten Veblen wrote of university managers, "The last
> resort of the apologists for these more sordid endeavours
> is the plea that only by this means can the ulterior ends
> of a civilization of intelligence be served. The argument
> may fairly be paraphrased to the effect that in order to
> serve God in the end, we must all be ready to serve the
> Devil in the meantime." [The Higher Learning in America.
> Originally published 1918 by B. W. Huebsch, Inc. Reprinted
> 1993 by Transaction p. 9]
> If libraries and librarians have been economically abused
> it has been at the hands of university managers far more
> than publishers. The aim of this forum, it seems clear to
> me (whether Harnad et al. are ready to admit it) is to end
> spending on libraries as soon as author-archiving can be
> offered as a substitute for "ownership." Like many described
> by Nicholson Baker in DOUBLE FOLD, well intentioned librarians
> and others have turned into shills for every alternative to
> the process of formal dissemination of research.
> Where is the passionate advocacy in support of fairer
> budgets for libraries, rather than justifying financial
> surpluses that serve no educational purpose?
> Best wishes,
> Albert Henderson
> <>
> -------------Forwarded Message-----------------
> Date: 6/27/2001 11:48 AM
> Re: Re: PostGutenberg Copyrights and Wrongs for Give-Away Research
> At 01:19 PM 6/26/01 -0400, Albert Henderson wrote:
> >on 26 Jun 2001 Fytton Rowland <J.F.Rowland_at_LBORO.AC.UK> wrote:
> >
> >> More seriously, taking Henderson's point about "economic exchanges that
> >> course through the research communication process", I suggest that
> >> Elsevier, Springer, Taylor & Francis, etc., and also the American Chemical
> >> Society and other large "not-for-profit" publishers, should each set up a
> >> Foundation into which the put a large proportion of the profits from their
> >> scholarly publishing activities. These Foundations would then support
> >> research in a wide variety of academic disciplines, competed for in the
> >> usual way by academics submitting grant proposals. This would bring the
> >> companies concerned well-deserved "recognition", and would also return to
> >> the academic community some of the hard cash taken out of it by exorbitant
> >> journal prices.
> >
> > There is no need for a new financial hoard. Every major
> > university already has accumulated profits and gifts that
> > serve no educational purpose. THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE
> > just published a lengthy description of Harvard's $19 billion,
> > by Johanna Berkman (June 24 2001 p. 38-41). Read and weep.
> > If Harvard's collection development had kept pace with the
> > published output of science after 1940, its library would
> > hold twice as many volumes as it does. Its endowment (shudder!)
> > might possible have a few less $billion.
> >
> > Best wishes,
> >
> >Albert Henderson
> ><>
> It is clear that Albert Henderson cannot be shaken in his belief that
> universities are immensely wealthy institutions that perversely refuse to
> spend their money on adequate library resources. This picture is not
> recognisable to us in the UK, nor, I suspect, to most academics in state
> univesties in the USA. My own university is a reasonably well-regarded
> medium-sized UK university. Its annual turnover (not profit, turnover!) is
> around 120 million pounds; its budgeted surplus (required for fiscal
> prudence by our University Council, in order to increase cash reserves,
> following a period of building construction) is about 2 million pounds per
> year. The cash reserves are about 20 million pounds (i.e. equivalent to
> about two months' routine expenditures). All the rest of the university's
> assets are real estate (its campus and the buidings on it) and the
> buildings' contents, including of course the library's collection.
> Harvard must be one of the wealthiest universities in the world -- hardly a
> typical one, anyway. But remember what "endowment" means. These are funds
> that are held as capital, and the university spends the interest on that
> capital on its running expenses. At current interest rates that is still
> probably 1 billion dollars a year or so, if the figure of 19 billion
> dollars capital is correct. A lot of money; but they do have to pay their
> faculty salaries, the running costs of all their buildings, scholarships
> for students, and everything else needed to run one of the world's
> highest-quality universities.
> And however rich or poor you are, that is not a good reason for allowing
> someone else to rip you off!
> Fytton Rowland.
> **********************************************************
> Fytton Rowland, M.A., Ph.D., F.I.Inf.Sc., Lecturer,
> Deputy Director of Undergraduate Programmes and
> Programme Tutor for Publishing with English,
> Department of Information Science,
> Loughborough University,
> Loughborough, Leics LE11 3TU, UK.
> Phone +44 (0) 1509 223039 Fax +44 (0) 1509 223053
> E-mail:
> **********************************************************
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

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