Current Liblicense Archive - Re: Cost savings

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LIBLICENSE-L Home

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LIBLICENSE-L  May 2013

LIBLICENSE-L May 2013

Subject:

Re: Cost savings

From:

LIBLICENSE <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

LibLicense-L Discussion Forum <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 1 May 2013 19:23:52 -0400

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text/plain (62 lines)

From: Rick Anderson <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Tue, 30 Apr 2013 23:41:52 +0000


>That's a misrepresentation of my argument because ONLY in the case of
>revised dissertations, not other kinds of books, are there real
>consequences for junior faculty authors if those librarians who decide
>against ordering revised dissertations just because they are based on
>dissertations are presented with that information.  No other authors
>are vulnerable to this kind of decision based on lack of information.

I'm sure everyone is sick of this thread by now, but I'm concerned that
publishers following it will be misled by Sandy's misinformed statements
and implications about how libraries select books. Let me try to clarify.
(And let me emphasize that I'm speaking here purely as a librarian, and
not on behalf of any vendor.)

Libraries set up approval plans for two reasons. They are designed, first,
to include books that are obviously needed (thus freeing up librarians'
scarce time so they can spend it seeking out titles that are more obscure
or harder to get) and, second, to exclude books that, though they may be
of high quality, are not a good fit for the library's particular needs
(thus letting the library focus its scarce budget dollars on the
acquisition of books that it needs more urgently). If libraries had
infinite budgets and infinite staff time, approval plans would not be
needed. Sadly, we have neither, so books have to be excluded as well as
included.

Sandy, you're right that senior faculty are less likely than junior
faculty to publish dissertation-based books. However, given the central
importance of UP publication for tenure-seeking faculty in most humanities
and social-science disciplines, junior faculty will be hurt
disproportionately whenever a UP book is excluded for ANY reason --
whether it's because the book is on a marginal topic, or is a collection
of previously-published essays, or is dissertation-based, or for whatever
other reason. If you're going to conceal the fact that a book is
dissertation-based in order to protect the interests of junior faculty,
then you'd better not tell your vendors anything at all about any of your
books, because the more information you provide, the more likely it is
that a library will exclude it. This strategy may indeed protect the
immediate interests of the author as author (and it certainly protects the
interest of the publisher), but it goes against the author's interests as
a researcher who relies on access to a library collection tailored to his
or her interests and needs.

The great majority of libraries do not exclude revised dissertations from
approval coverage, and no library relies entirely on approval plans to
select books for its collection. Will identifying a book as a revised
dissertation tend to drive down its aggregate sales numbers? Yes, a little
bit. But so will identifying it as virtually anything else, because these
non-subject criteria are designed as filters. Any argument against
identifying dissertation-based books is, therefore (and whether you intend
it to be or not), an argument against providing libraries any information
at all. But tricking libraries into buying books they don't intend to buy
hurts everyone in the long run, even if it seems to help authors (and
publishers) in the short run.

---
Rick Anderson
Interim Dean, J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah
[log in to unmask]

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