Respectful Insolence

Literature request fulfilled

Thanks to those who sent me a copy of the article I requested. Sadly, the library at my university has some rather large holes in its online collection. Even some fairly common journals are not represented. I’ll have to read it this weekend. You’ll all get personal e-mails from me later today, after I finish rounding on our service.

As for finding the paper online at the author’s website, personally, I find that to be a very uncommon situation, although I have had some luck in the past e-mailing corresponding authors. This is much the same as in the old days, when we old geezers would physically mail a request for a reprint to the corresponding author, who would mail us back a physical reprint. (You younger kids probably wouldn’t remember.) I still occasionally get such requests from scholars and researchers in Third World countries where Internet access is not as ubiquitous as it is here. In any case, this was a bit of a blog experiment, one that’s not likely to be repeated except under extreme and urgent need.

Thanks again.

Comments

  1. #1 Abel Pharmboy
    August 12, 2006

    we old geezers would physically mail a request for a reprint to the corresponding author, who would mail us back a physical reprint. (You younger kids probably wouldn’t remember.)

    Yeah, and then I’d chistle the text and figures onto a stone tablet and send it off to the requestor. Bwahhhhh!

    In all seriousness, your example is pathognomonic of the misappropriation of indirect costs in major academic institutions.

    Yes, journal prices have increased quite rapidly, but the budgets of med libraries have been cut so precipitously that many of us are surveyed annually by our institutions about the journals we *must* have and then given the results in the form of a list of the several dozen that will be jettisoned by the institutional library(ies).

    Then, if you need an article for your NIH project that comes from one of those journals, you then pay $7 to $30 for it, out of your direct costs budget. More and more passing the buck to the principal investigator.

    Ya ever get the feeling that you’re just sort of renting lab space at your joint? And that’s without even getting into how your decade of training as a surgeon gives you the honor of being treated like a ‘service provider.’

  2. #2 Ann
    August 12, 2006

    we old geezers would physically mail a request for a reprint to the corresponding author, who would mail us back a physical reprint. (You younger kids probably wouldn’t remember.)

    I remember! My parents called it “doing Current Contents” and it involved them circling things they wanted, and whatever lab folks’ kids were old enough filling out the reprint request cards. And then going to the Med School library to see if they had the same things just requested and photocopying whatever we could find. I once asked them why I was copying stuff I’d just mailed away for a copy of, and never did get a satisfactory answer.

    I can’t really claim to be a young kid anymore, though.

The site is undergoing maintenance presently. Commenting has been disabled. Please check back later!