Re: Distinguishing the Essentials from the Optional Add-Ons

From: Albert Henderson <chessNIC_at_COMPUSERVE.COM>
Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001 14:31:31 -0400

on 26 Jul 2001 Stevan Harnad <> wrote:
> On Wed, 25 Jul 2001, George Lundberg wrote:
> > i certainly can agree with one point
> > the market will decide
> > however i would not count on any "windfall savings" unless there is a
> > secure on-going revenue stream
> > and that is, of course, a fundamental problem with any "giveaway" product
> I am not quite sure what George means here (nor what he is taking me
> to mean):
> Note that most of this is hypothetical:
> The part that is not hypothetical but certain is:
> The (hypothetical) windfall savings would be those of the university
> libraries, from S/L/P cancellations, if (hypothetically) the online
> availability of the self-archived ("giveaway") version of all refereed
> articles (if/when most or all of them are indeed self-archived) were to
> cause a catastrophic drop in the demand (hence revenue streams) for the
> S/L/P version (on-paper, publisher's PDF, publisher's online
> enhancements). A portion (be it 10% or 30%) of those university
> windfall savings could then be used to pay the costs, on a per-paper
> submitted/accepted basis, to maintain the revenue streams for the sole
> remaining essential service from refereed journal publishers, namely,
> the implementation of peer review.

        This free access argument continues a fraudulent promise of
        exellence to disguise financial goals. University managers
        are often at odds with faculty governance and the influence
        of faculty associations. They gladly undermine the power of
        faculty rooted in publications and publishing businesses.

        Hardly hypothetical is the financial windfall _alreadly_
        realized as a result of cancelations justified by photocopying
        and the expansion of fair use. Universities cut library
        spending in _half_ over the last 30 years. By this means they
        increased their profitability as an examination of financial
        statements and statistics easily demonstrates.

        Hardly hypothetical is the wave of red tape, poor service,
        reduced staffing and decimated collections. It is not only
        users of journals who suffer but authorship, university press
        publishers of monographs, database users, and the sponsors of
        research and education. It is also librarians who prefer the
        academic environment but were pushed out of it.

        Clearly, it is the universities who have raised the economic
        barrier of the budget to cut researchers off from information.
        Clearly, universities did not use the "savings" extracted from
        library budgets to pay for expanded benefits. If anything, the
        average wait for interlibrary photocopies and the average
        failure rate deteriorated.
        Clearly, universities are hoarding financial assets while
        letting intellectual concerns go to pot. There is nothing
        hypothetical here.

        Fortunately, defenders of copyright have saved the libraries
        from complete destruction -- so far.

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

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