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mmmm, historical statistics!

A Book for People Who Love Numbers, Sam Roberts, NY Times, February 22, 2006.

The Historical Statistics of the United States, Millenial edition is due out this spring. I guess I’m that certain personality type because I just wish that I had $825 to plunk down on this 5 volume set — $5000+ if you want perpetual digital access! This is an invaluable resource for any reference collection.

I wonder though, why the Census Bureau authorized the privatized edition to be published by Cambridge University Press? In addition, call me naive, but I wonder why Richard Sutch and Susan Carter, the editors in chief from UC Riverside, would need to spend more than 1/2 their time over the last 11 years in fund-raising for the project?


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  1. The editors are faculty members at UC Riverside, so ostensibly have salaries already. Perhaps I don’t understand commercial publishing, but I don’t think I would agree to a contract with CUP to put in 11 years as an editor if I had to spend that much time fund-raising. Don’t publishers put their own $$ up for a project with the thought of getting handsomely compensated (i.e., $825 per paper copy and $5000 for perpetual access)? Sounds like the editors had to put up their own money (through fund-raising efforts) to get this admittedly amazing work published and now CUP is going to reap the rewards.

    I was more interested in the fact that US Census Bureau was allowing a private publisher to do this, thereby moving public domain information into the copyright realm. This happened with the 9/11 Report as well — and was attempted with weather data — and could happen with more govt information in the future.

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