Fast Company

No Money for Your Library? Well Then No Money for Your Research Either

Library investment correlates with funding for research projects, according to a new study. But the sponsor, Elsevier, suggests partiality too.

Universities are more likely to get funding for research when investments in university libraries is high, according to a new report released today. The study was funded by Elsevier, a publisher often employed by university libraries (which raises questions about the efficacy of the report, more on that in a moment). But if the findings are correct, it means the universities that can't invest in libraries in the first place, and need grants the most, can't get them.

The disparities in education usually follow the lines of race, class, neighborhood, etc. But regardless of socio-economic considerations, what does this mean about the public/private dichotomy? Is my alma mater, UC Berkeley, worse off than the Ivy Leagues? I sure hope not. (And I don’t really think so, anyway--Go Bears!)

So back to that other point--this was funded by Elsevier? You know, that research tool you always find when you sit down at the university library that lets you search through a gazillion journals and documents? Yeah, I think this is Elsevier’s way of saying to professors: "Hey, bug your boards to invest more in libraries (which coincidentally means more money to Elsevier) and then you’re more likely to get your research funded!"

Let’s give this a few days before someone blows up about lobbyists. We’re watching you Elsevier! We know you’re trying to get with all those hot librarians!

[Homepage image via flickr/Loughborough University Library; top image via flickr/kainet; center image via flickr/Will Hart]

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