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re: R & D and Library Spending

Jan Velterop wrote:

"Heather finds it inconceivable that budgets rise in line with 
the production of scientific literature and yet the production of 
scientific literature is, broadly, a direct consequence of 
spending on R&D." 

I'm not sure which Heather Jan is referring to, or if it's me, 
what I might have said that could be interpreted this way, but 
just in case it is me, here are my thoughts on the subject of 
library budgets and R & D spending. Please note that I have no 
opinion on current U.S. R & D spending, and am very glad to see 
others investigating this topic.

In brief, my answer to whether there is - or should be - a 
correlation between R & D spending and library budgets, 
particularly serials budgets is: no, and yes.

The reason I would suggest that there should be no direct 
correlation between R & D spending and library budgets is because 
needs for library funding are ongoing and independent of research 
funding, and predate research grants.  Picture, for example, a 
brand new university, hiring new staff, none of whom have any 
research grants yet.  The university will need to develop a 
library; the researchers will need to use the library in order to 
develop proposals for research grants.  When the grants come in, 
it absolutely makes sense to consider further investments in the 
library. However, this correlation should not be direct, as the 
preexisting library investments need to be taken into account.

For example, if the library already subscribes to the "big deals" 
of all the big science publishers, it makes no sense at all to 
purchase more of the big deal when a research grant is received.

On the other hand, using additional research grant monies to 
invest in other areas would make a lot more sense.  For example, 
universities need to develop institutional repositories, and, in 
particular, the kinds of repositories that can handle open data 
and other enriched information resources that go beyond 
traditional publishing.

There were some excellent sessions at the OAI4 conference on open 
data and e-research - see especially the sessions by Peter 
Murray-Rust, Liz Lyons, and Hans Pfeiffenberger; links can be 
found at: http://tinyurl.com/8r7kt

Other areas for library expenditures that might make sense for 
the big deal libraries include reinvesting in the works of the 
smaller society publishers whose works may have been cancelled in 
order to purchase the big deals, catching up on monographs 
purchases, library service investments (e.g. to pay for any 
additional information literacy, research, or interlibrary loans 
services that the new research projects may required). This could 
also be a good opportunity to use the funds for the preservation 
efforts which ARL has defined as a current priority.

Of course, for the library which does not yet have the "big 
deal", using the additional funding from research may be a way to 
afford the big deal as well.

Heather Morrison