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re: R & D and Library Spending

I'm sorry, Heather, I did mean you. In a post entitled 'The 
religion of peer review' you wrote "The current approach has also 
led to the serials crisis. If this was developed through 
scientific methodology - someone must have forgotten a variable 
or two. Such as the fact that raising prices every year higher 
than library budgets could conceivably rise would lead to a 
crisis, for example."

I admit to jumping a step (or two) when I concluded that you 
didn't find it conceivable that budgets rise with R&D spending, 
where you only said you'd find it inconceivable that they rose 
with price increases. Apologies for that. Yet price increases are 
most often the consequence of increases in number of papers 
published and that is most often the result of increased research 
being done and that is most often the result of increased 
research spending. The point I tried to make is that open access 
publishing sustained by article processing charges would provide 
for the costs to Academia of research publications (not 
necessarily library budgets) scaling much more naturally with the 
research effort (read: number of papers published) than any 
subscription model. The Wellcome Trust and Howard Hughes Medical 
Institute have got it right, in my view: they define publishing 
as integral to research and thus the cost of publishing as 
integral to the cost of doing research.

The arguments you are making now all seem to point to desired 
budget increases higher than the increase of R&D spending instead 
of lower. I have no issue with that.

Jan Velterop

Heather Morrison <heatherm@eln.bc.ca> wrote:

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