Friday, January 29, 2010

Economics 29/01/2010: News from the Knowledge Economy Front

Newsflash from Ireland's Knowledge Economy Front - our troops, led by heroic fighter for Knowledge, Batt O' "Modern Science" Keeffe, are now engaged in an orderly strategic retreat into the Darker Ages. Casualties are so far minimal - 228 scientific journals that Batt could not read.

As was reported by me earlier (here), Ireland's knowledge economics have suffered a fresh wound on our Government's hasty retreat from the world of the 21st century research back to the depth of the 19th century paper-based studies. Here's the latest dispatch:

"You will be aware that the current round of IReL funding came to an end in December 2009. The IUA Librarians' Group is engaged in positive discussions with the HEA and others to secure funding for IReL for 2010 onwards but it is likely that this will be at significantly reduced levels. Due to increasing publisher costs and other factors it is necessary for some IReL resources to be cancelled even if IReL funding were to be maintained at pre-2010 levels. Arising from this, and in the first of what will probably be a number of cancellation processes, the resources listed below will shortly become unavailable through IReL. To download the full list of journals and other resources, please click here."

I would encourage you going to the link and checking out the premier academic titles that will no longer be available on-time, on-demand via electronic libraries.

As one senior research academic commented on this: "What sort of insane gibbering
passes for our education and research policy?"

As I was informed by the sources close to the DofEducation - as a compensation for unnecessarily complicated scientific titles lost, the Government will supply our Universities with the latest edition of Gaelic translation of the EU Treaties - after all, our Brussels-based Irish language translators are:
  • costing us some 5 times the amount it would take to restore our library services back to the 21st century standard, and
  • have no readers for their output anywhere on the planet Earth...


Kevin Denny said...

Lest there be any doubt, these are not obscure journals. They would be essential in their areas.

TrueEconomics said...

Many are, as far as I can see. Some probably are rather obscure, but the reality is that knowledge is not subject to prioritization - even obscure texts often become extremely influential. There was a very good article ages ago that listed some of the top papers in economics - including those that later formed the core of the Nobel Prize award - that were published in second tier journals because they were rejected by the top journals. In reality - I stood clearly for serious cuts in public spending. And I still stand for more. But one has to think when cuts are implemented. Clearly, this Government and our public sector officials are failing in the task.

Kevin Denny said...

Apparently, the "top journals" are not so top anymore i.e. the good stuff is more evenly spread around.I read that recently anyway.
The problem is that any objection to any spending cuts will be seen as a kind of NIMBY-ism

TrueEconomics said...

Of course, the counter argument here will be that knowledge, science and education provide very strong positive spillovers to the society at large. And that the savings generated are negligible and can be achieved by, for example, cutting the burden of our education system bureaucracy. In addition, the cost can be fully recovered through student fees.

Education and science in Ireland are not efficiently run. In one instance, TCD admin insisted on putting a senior administrator in a research centre funded from outside the Irish state at a cost of over 100K. The centre was supposed to have one lecturer, two post-docs and a few doctoral students and occupy two rooms!

There are huge inefficiencies in the administrative / management functions. There are also big problems with legacy academic staff who perform no real functions - neither active in research, nor active in teaching.

The Government has committed 10 million annually to support an under-performing IT for no reason other than maintaining political coalition.

The list can go on and on. So while we can be accused of NIMBYism, there are plenty of arguments to refute such an accusation.

Frans Engels said...

>>> our Brussels-based Irish language translators are costing us some 5 times the amount it would take to restore our library services back to the 21st century standard <<<

What is your source for this claim?