Re: Online Self-Archiving: Distinguishing the Optimal from the Optional

From: Albert Henderson <chessNIC_at_COMPUSERVE.COM>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 14:44:00 -0500

on 11 Dec 2002 Andrew Odlyzko <odlyzko_at_DTC.UMN.EDU> wrote:

> There is also data showing that publication expenses have gone
> down as a fraction of total R&D expenditures. (One can look
> at the ARL statistics, for example, and compare them to the
> figures compiled by NSF for total federal research funding, say,
> both easily available online.) The issue is how to interpret
> that. Here is a quote from "Tragic loss or good riddance ...":
> University libraries have already lost some of their importance.
> Spending on libraries has been increasing rapidly, much faster than
> inflation. Still, Albert Henderson has pointed out that over the last
> 25 years, the fraction of budgets of research universities in the US
> that are devoted to libraries has declined from 6% to 3%. One could
> therefore argue that everything would be fine with scholarly
> publishing if only libraries regained their "rightful share" of
> university budgets. My opinion is that this is unrealistic, and that
> the decline in the relative share of resources devoted to libraries
> resulted from their decreasing importance.

        In contrast, the data offered by Tenopir and King
        indicates libraries have increased their importance
        (if not in the eyes of the bureaucracy then) in terms
        of actual usage. Discussing scientists' information-
        seeking and reading patterns, they wrote: "The
        source of articles read has migrated from
        predominantly personal subscriptions to library-
        provided articles. For example, in 1977 60 percent of
        readings by university scientists were from personal
        subscriptions and 25 percent from libraries, but the
        1990 and 1993 surveys showed a reversal to 36 percent
        from personal subscriptions and 54 percent from
        libraries. For scientists in other organizations,
        readings from personal subscriptions declined from 72
        percent in 1977 to 24 percent in the studies
        performed from 1994 to 1998; at the same time,
        library readings increased from 10 percent to 56
        2000. p. 30]

        Readings of library-provided articles very likely
        includes desktop access of electronic copies. However,
        in spite of all the talk about more desktop access to
        electronic files, ARL reports interlibrary borrowing
        (i.e. photocopy) activity continued to rise unabated
        through 2001 by the newer options often favored in this

        Best wishes,
Albert Henderson

Received on Mon Dec 16 2002 - 19:44:00 GMT

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