Re: The True Cost of the Essentials (Implementing Peer Review)

From: David Goodman <dgoodman_at_PRINCETON.EDU>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003 14:53:45 -0400

For administrators in gleeful expectation of the "library windfall,"
I note that the percent of the total US research university library
devoted to serials costs in 2002 was only 26%.
This covers print journals, electronic journals, databases, newspapers,
etc. ;
it includes all fields of study. If 3/4 of it were science journals,
that comes
to less than 20% of the total library expenditure.

> And yet the library serials budget *is* relevant, for, if open-access
> should prevail, it is the library that will enjoy the annual windfall
> savings on its erstwhile serials toll expenditures ....
> For by then the institutional
> library windfall savings will be more than enough to pay the peer-review
> costs for all institutional research output several times over.

If half the science research journals were converted immediately,
which is extremely optimistic, it would provide
a potential source of $1.8 million for the typical university.
If half the 2000 or so annual papers from a university were so
that's $1,800 per paper for all costs.
The total costs will inevitably equal the money spent--the only way to
make the system more affordable is to reduce the costs,
not merely redistribute them.

The reason why librarians must be concerned about this, is the
probability that the money saved from library acquisitions will not be
used to finance the publication system, but for
general university administration. This is not an improvement
over the present, where a considerable part of the expense is used for
general administrative purposes by the publishers.
This explains why many libraries are willing to pay subscriptions to
alternative publishers: the basic rule of library budgeting is that if
do not spend all the money, you will lose it forever.

Dr. David Goodman
Princeton University Library
Palmer School of Library and Information Science, Long Island University
Received on Tue Jul 22 2003 - 19:53:45 BST

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