Re: Author Publication Charge Debate

From: Subbiah Arunachalam <subbiah_a_at_YAHOO.COM>
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2004 05:24:58 +0000


Mr Albert Henderson wrote: "There was no problem
linking library and R&D spending during the 1960s,
when political pressures demanded better science. It
would seem fundamental to any school child that
spending on libraries used to prepare R&D must be a
part of R&D policy.

It was only after Western men walked on the moon that
universities felt comfortable cutting money from
libraries and sending it to the bottom line. The money
is there, in the surpluses that show up clearly in tax
reports and in the statistics of income and

Mr Henderson talks about increasing funds for
libraries in the context of USA and other rich
countries. What about the rest of the world?

ARL and SPARC have gathered considerable amount of
statistics to show that the increase in cost per page
of most journals is much higher than can be justified
merely on the basis of inflation. There was the famous
litigation between a commercial publisher and a
professional society after an article comparing
journal prices appeared in Physics Today. Clearly,
publishing firms needed a jolt and that was what
happened when libraries took tough stands against
leading commercial publishers, and scientists resigned
from the editorial boards of costly commercial
journals to start less expensive alternatives
journals. Even in the rich countries, most people felt
that the publishers were taking the academic community
for a ride.

Mr Henderson wants funds to libraries to be increased.
What do libraries do? They provide access to
information needed by researchers, faculty and
students and other clients. If the information can be
provided by means of open archives at a much lower
cost than through printed (or electronic) journals, I
think we should accept the less expensive alternative.
We can save money and use it for other purposes useful
to the faculty and students instead of giving it away
to some publisher.


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Received on Fri Feb 13 2004 - 05:24:58 GMT

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