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Re: Self-Archiving and Journal Subscriptions: Critique of PRC Study

Research universities do not exist for their own 
self-aggrandizement. Even for their beneficial effect upon their 
students is not the primary purpose, although such benefit is 
real. They exist in order to promote research, and are directly 
and indirectly funded for the purpose. Research is done not 
primarily for the benefit to the researcher, although this 
benefit is also real. Nor is it done for the benefit of the 
institution. It is done for the advancement of basic science and 
scholarship, in the expectation that this will bring material and 
intellectual benefit to society as a whole.

This has been true from even the beginnings: Lawyers and 
physicians and theologians were educated not so they would be 
rich, but for the perceived benefit to the security, well being, 
and values of the community. Today it is the same: an individual 
researcher may work for his personal intellectual satisfaction, 
but he is not supported for that end.  Knowledge is attained so 
it may be published and used.

The rich institutions are rich so they may have the resources to 
do the research, to teach it, and to diffuse it, in the 
realisation that progress depends upon no one institution. The 
money they have is to be spent for these purposes. The cost for 
the effective publication of research is proportional the amount 
and quality of the research, and the grants and internal funding 
used for this can support the publishing as a necessary and in 
most fields relatively inexpensive part. From each according to 
its ability both to do, and to pay.

David Goodman, Ph.D., M.L.S.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Joseph J. Esposito" <espositoj@gmail.com>
Date: Friday, May 18, 2007 6:33 pm
Subject: Re: Self-Archiving and Journal Subscriptions: Critique of PRC Study
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu

> The library budgets are funded by multiple sources.  Send a kid
> to college and see.
> It seems very hard to make the point that OA is not in the 
> interest of research universities, but that is the critical 
> point.  Phil Davis notes that 200 institutions produce 85% of 
> all research.  Allowing for the reasonable objection that we 
> need to know how that 85% figure was derived, it nonetheless 
> seems to me that the intriguing question is what percentage the 
> top 25 institutions produce.  It's going to be a big number.
> Why would the top 25 give this away?  They are all (with the 
> exception of the 2-3 with endowments that would awe Croesus) 
> struggling to finance their operations, and they are to give 
> away these riches?  Why is it that McGraw-Hill and Thomson can 
> make money with publications based on research, but the 
> University of Illinois, Tufts, and the University of Michigan 
> cannot (taking as my examples three outstanding institutions 
> that nonetheless lack the cachet of a handful of others)?  The 
> top research institutions should take control of their 
> intellectual property and commercialize it, not for the good of 
> the world but to benefit themselves.
> Consider the alternatives:  A university president could take a 
> huge gift from a pharmaceutical company, a grant that comes 
> with strings attached.  Or a donor could fund a new program, 
> slowly nudging university research into areas that appeal to 
> the fancies of the rich.  Shall we spend a moment on grants 
> from the Department of Defense?
> Proprietary publishing, aka toll-access publishing, when placed 
> in the hands of the universities themselves (where, it must be 
> said, it absolutely does NOT currently reside), would provide a 
> mechanism for funding research by distributing the costs to the 
> users, the beneficiaries of that information. It would enable 
> institutions to pursue their own research agendas.  And that is 
> for the good of the world.
> Joe Esposito