Auditors, really?

May 13 2014 Published by under Information Science

I'm all for responsible use of our money and we are very, very careful with our limited funds... so really I would have said, "bring it on" to auditors. Of course, I'm not the financial person, so I don't have to deal with them directly.

So here's the crazy bit: they want us to justify each and every one of our subscriptions for 2006 and 2007. What did we pay? What was the going rate? How many downloads were there for ONLY our lab?  Were there cheaper substitutes? Problem is, my place of work is a research lab that's a division of a major university. Only a few of our licenses are only for our lab. The vast majority are managed by the larger institution - as is proper.

In case you didn't know, usage is hardly ever available by IP. Counter compliant statistics, I'm told, are actually less informative than what was available previously.

So what happens if they disallow our licenses from 2007 in 2014? No clue whatsoever.

The only supporting info I could think to offer beyond what everyone else has done (the tech services folks at the parent institution have been awesome), is what sources we cited in those years. To me, that demonstrates that they were useful/used - even if the year is somewhat delayed.

I was pondering approaches, but I was able to do it in a few clicks in Scopus - not super clean, but useful:

  1. Search for affiliation and pick yours off.
  2. Limit by publication year (2007 in this case)
  3. Select all (we only had ~450/year during this time, ymmv if you have a much larger institution)
  4. Under More > view References
  5. In the refine sidebar, at the bottom, in small print > export refine

So I did see things written years after they were cited, but they were mostly things like standards and technical reports, and unpublished things. The publications also needed a little cleaning up  - aj and apj were there as well as the journals listed under their full names.

Dunno. I guess we'll see if the auditors get this - I'm getting the feeling that they have no concept of how science works.

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