Re: Spend More on Libraries

From: Albert Henderson <>
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2003 21:10:22 +0100

on Thu, 24 Jul 2003 Tom Cochrane <t.cochrane_at_QUT.EDU.AU> wrote:

> At 02:53 PM 22/07/2003 -0400, David Goodman wrote:
> >The reason why librarians must be concerned about this, is the unfortunate
> >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
> >you do not spend all the money, you will lose it forever.
> I don't think you should underestimate the capacity of university
> Presidents and senior administrators to understand this problem.
> They would be quite capable of understanding any argument about a
> redirection or repurposing of some of it, especially if it is a widely
> developing trend.

No underestimate here. University managers don't care. The experience
of librarians and faculty senates is supported by statistical evidence:
it is financial efficiency -- not productivity in research or education --
that commands priority.

All higher education institutions have shifted funds from libraries to the
bottom line. The great libraries of the most famous research universities
have half their share of 1969 budgets. Higher education institutions,
even publicly financed ones, have more left over after expenditure is
subtracted from income.

The result of the obsession with library savings is the focus on making
the primary output of research free while input goes begging. Without
robust libraries and publishers, the input of research and education
is a chaotic disorganized mess. Self-archiving of preprints and journal
articles can only make the mess worse.

Thanks for your comment.

Albert Henderson
Pres., Chess Combination Inc.
POB 2423 Bridgeport CT 06608-0423
Received on Thu Jul 24 2003 - 21:10:22 BST

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