In its Annual Report for 2010, Oslo University Library presented a diagram (above or right) that showed
- the rapid increase in subscription rates for scientific journals, on an annual basis
- the (only) partial compensation for this in their budgets
Most graphics can be improved. We tend to spend time revising our written texts until they sound right. We draft and redraft, scrub and polish. We should apply the same amount of attention to our graphics.
Since rates are compared year by year, we do not get a grasp of the main problem, which is the cumulative effect of undercompensation. Below I have revised the graph to bring out the gap between price increases and compensation more clearly.
This should not be seen as negative criticism. Oslo University Library is a highly professional institution. I am exploring their data because I was praising their work with statistics and infographics. But the state of the art – in all fields of social and management statistics – is such that nearly every graph or table you meet can be substantially improved.
- ST 7/12: Bibliotekanalyse ved UBO. In Norwegian.