ACRL Speaks Out

ACRL Speaks Out

To increase ACRL's visibility and influence in the arena of higher education policy development and legislation and in support of its commitment to work towards reshaping the system of scholarly communications, ACRL speaks out on important issues. Below are examples of ACRL's participation in activities geared towards creating change. See Library Copyright Alliance for joint work with ALA and ARL on copyright issues such as fair use, trade agreements, and Google Book Search settlement. 

Letter to House Science Committee in Opposition of Section 303 in the FIRST Act (March 24, 2014)
ACRL joined 15 other national and regional library, publishing, funding and advocacy organizations to express strong opposition to the language contained in Section 303 of the ‘Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology Act of 2014’ (FIRST Act). The language in Section 303 of the FIRST Act calls for access to articles reporting on federally funded research to be restricted for up to three years after initial publication, an unnecessarily long delay with potential harm to stakeholders who are not allowed access to the results of publicly funded research.

ACRL Comments on AAUP report Academic Freedom and Electronic Communications (January 10, 2014)
ACRL submitted comments to the American Association of University Professors on its updated draft report Academic Freedom and Electronic Communications. ACRL suggested that the draft report can be strengthened in two important areas: by addressing author options to retain their rights under copyright when publishing and the importance of fair use in the full exercise of academic freedom.

ACRL Board of Directors Statement on Edwin Mellen Press v. Dale Askey (February 19, 2013)
The Board of Directors of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) expresses grave concern over the libel suit initiated by Edwin Mellen Press against Dale Askey, a librarian and faculty member at McMaster University.  The suit alleges that Askey committed libel while criticizing the Press in his blog while a Librarian at Kansas State University.  This action is a challenge to both academic and intellectual freedom in academic libraries. If successful, it would not only be damaging to Askey personally but do great harm to the ability of all academic librarians to perform their professional duties.  We trust that the Edwin Mellen Press will, in the light of growing outrage in the academic community, drop what appears to be an ill-considered assault upon free expression in general and academic librarians in particular.

Response to White House on College Scorecard (PDF) (April 23, 2012)
ACRL responded to the request from the White House for feedback on the "College Scorecard," a new tool for College Affordability and Transparency Center. Libraries and librarians are actively engaged in the educational process at universities and community colleges throughout the country. We are concerned about the value of a college degree and wish to prepare our students not just for their first jobs out of college, but for lifelong learning and active participation in civic life. In this response, ACRL expressed our position regarding the information we believe is critical for students and families in selecting a college.

Letter to Members of House and Senate Reintroducing Federal Research Public Access Act (PDF) (February 14, 2012)
ACRL joined eight other national and regional library, publishing, research and advocacy organizations in a letter to thank members of Congress who introduced “The Federal Research Public Access Act” as H.R. 4004 in the U.S. House of Representatives and S. 2096 in the U.S. Senate. The letter states, "This bill will provide an important mechanism to ensure that manuscripts of peer-reviewed scientific articles reporting on research funded by the U.S. Government can be freely accessed and used by all American taxpayers – including researchers, teachers, students and businesses. Timely, barrier-free access to the results of federally funded research is an essential component of our collective investment in science."

Letter to House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform opposing Research Works Act (PDF) (January 24, 2012)
ACRL joined ALA and eight other library, publishing, and advocacy organizations in a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to express our strong opposition to H.R. 3699, The Research Works Act. The letter states, "This proposed legislation would unfairly and unnecessarily prohibit federal agencies from conditioning research grants to ensure that all members of the public receive timely, equitable, online access to articles that report the results of federally funded research that their tax dollars directly support."

Comments to White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) supporting increased public access to digital data resulting from federally funded scientific research (PDF) (January 12, 2012)
ACRL recommended approaches for ensuring long-term stewardship and encouraging broad public access to unclassified digital data that results from federally funded scientific research.

Comments to White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) supporting increased public access to research funded by federal science and technology agencies (PDF) (December 21, 2011)
ALA and ACRL recommended approaches for ensuring long-term stewardship and broad public access to the peer-reviewed scholarly publications that result from federally funded scientific research.

Letters on the Third Anniversary of the NIH Public Access Policy (April 5, 2011)
ACRL sent letters to the National Institutes of HealthU.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to celebrate the third anniversary of the NIH Public Access Policy. The letters asked the NIH that the embargo be shortened and asked HHS and OSTP to expand the policy to other federal agencies.

ACRL Letter on Multi-State Depository Libraries (November 2, 2011)
In light of rulingd which rejected new multi-state partnerships within the Federal Depository Library Program, ACRL wrote to the public printer and superintendent of documents, stating "ACRL believes that the future of libraries will be based in innovative uses of technology and intensive collaboration across geographic boundaries. The multi-state models for managing federal documents that libraries have developed address the pressing issues of the economic climate, the imperative for wider collaboration, and the improvement of access to these critical resources. We view these as necessary and viable partnerships that will sustain library collections and services and will create enduring programs of access and preservation."

Comments to Lumina Foundation on draft Degree Qualifications Profile: A Transformational Challenge for U.S. Higher Education (PDF) (November 17, 2010)
ACRL recommended specific changes to the profile in the section on Intellectual Skills – Use of Information Resources, noting it is the information strategies rather than the information resources themselves that will serve students in the long run and best prepare them for career, graduate school, and citizenry.

Letters to Reps. Clay and McHenry thanking them for hearing on Federal Research Public Access Act (PDF) (July 2010)
As part of its ongoing support of FRPAA, ACRL thanks the Chairman and Ranking member of the Subcommittee on Information Policy, the Census and National Archives of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for scheduling an open hearing on H.R. 5037 

Letter to Rep. Towns encouraging hearing on Federal Research Public Access Act (PDF) (June 2010)
As part of its ongoing support of FRPAA, ACRL encourages Chairman Towns to hold an open hearing before the House Committee On Oversight and Government Reform on H.R. 5037. The bill was introduced on April 15 by representatives Doyle (D-PA), Waxman (D-CA), Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), Harper (R-MS), Boucher (D-VA) and Rohrabacher (R-CA) and has been referred to that committee for consideration. We believe a hearing is an important step toward giving this bill full consideration. The bill balances the needs of all stakeholders in the research community and helps to create a level playing field where all interested citizens can access the results of publicly funded research equally. We are enthusiastic about an open hearing as it would allow an opportunity for all stakeholders to express their views.

Comments to White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) supporting increased public access to research funded by federal science and technology agencies (January 12, 2010)
ALA and ACRL have long believed that ensuring public access to the fruits of federally funded research is a logical, feasible, and widely beneficial goal. They provided information and evidence as the Executive Branch considers expanding public access policies, like that implemented by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to other federal agencies. Specifically, the ALA and ACRL recommend: which agencies should be covered, that policies should be mandatory, that earlier access is better, version and format recommendations, how to keep implementation costs reasonable, and the importance of supporting emerging scholarly practice.

Letter to Sens. Lieberman and Cornyn on Federal Research Public Access Act (July 2009)
In late June, Senators Lieberman and Cornyn reintroduced S. 1373 the Federal Research Public Access Act.  This much-anticipated bill (which was previously introduced in 2006) would ensure free, timely, online access to the published results of research funded by 11 U.S. federal agencies.  Essentially, the bill would advance and expand the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy -- which requires public access to taxpayer-funded research -- to additional agencies.  ACRL strongly supports this legislation, a priority on our legislative agenda.

Letter to House Judiciary opposing Fair Copyright in Research Act (February 13, 2009)
ACRL joined nine other library, publishing and public-interest groups in writing an open letter to the House Judiciary Committee, supporting the NIH policty and opposing the bill Mr. Conyers reintroduced in the 111th Congress.

Overview of Public Access to Obama Transition Team (January 2009)
As part of the Open Access Working Group, ACRL joined 9 other library and public interest groups in sending a one-page overview "Public Access to the Published Results of Publicly Funded Research Will Benefit the Economy, Science, and Health" to the Obama transition team.

Letter to House Judiciary opposing Fair Copyright in Research Act (September 5, 2008)
ACRL joined nine other library, publishing and public-interest groups in writing an open letter to the House Judiciary Committee, supporting the NIH policty and opposing the bill Mr. Conyers introduced.

Letter to Organizers of SCOAP3

ACRL expresses interest and support in the Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics' effort to facilitate open access publishing in High Energy Physics. ACRL “welcomes this experiment in new funding models and recognizes its potential to inform scholarly publishing more globally” and “believes that SCOAP3 is a valuable addition to the heterogeneous mix of strategies being undertaken by scholars, publishers, libraries and others to ensure the future of high-quality journals.” Additionally, the association encourages its members to consider joining the SCOAP3 effort. To learn more about why libraries of all sizes should support SCOAP3, listen to a podcast interview with John Ober, Director of Policy, Planning & Outreach at California Digital Library, and Kim Douglas, University Librarian at California Institute of Technology. Ober is a current co-chair, and Douglas an incoming co-chair, of ACRL’s Scholarly Communications Committee.

Letters to US Senator Harkin, Representative Obey and HHS Secretary Leavitt on NIH public access policy implementation (February 2008)
ACRL joined with 7 other national organizations to thank these key members of Congress and the Secretary of Health and Human Services for their support of the NIH Public Access Policy. The letter also reiterates our commitment to the policy and its timely implementation.

Letter to US Senators opposing Inhofe amendments (October 2007)
ACRL Joined with 7 other national organizations to urge Senators oppose both of Senator Inhofe's amendments (to the FY 2008 Senate Labor, Health and Human Services and Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bill (S.1710). These amendments would severely curtail the ability of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to effectively make the results of the research it funds

Letter to Representative Miller supporting Higher Education Sustainability Act (October 2007)
HESA amends the Higher Education Act to authorize a new $50 million grant program at the Department of Education that will annually support between 25 and 200 sustainability projects by individual higher education institutions and higher education consortia/associations. Funds can be used to establish multidisciplinary sustainability education, research, and outreach programs; and to conduct energy management, green building and purchasing, waste and toxics management, transportation, and related sustainability initiatives. Since this bill is wide open about on-campus entities who could receive grants, libraries likely would be involved.

Letter to US Senators supporting NIH policy (September 2007)
ACRL joined with 6 other national organizations to affirm our support language in the FY08 Labor/HHS/Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill (S.1710) that directs the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to strengthen its Public Access Policy and require NIH-funded researchers to deposit copies of NIH-funded research articles into the online archive of the National Library of Medicine.

Letters to the  US Senate and  US House supporting NIH public access policy (July 2007)
ACRL joined with 6 other national organizations to support language on the NIH Public Access Policy included in the FY08 Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bills.

ACRL support of GPO guidelines for shared regional depository libraries (June 2007)
ACRL strongly supports the draft GPO guidelines for shared regional depository libraries, and feels they offer the kind of flexibility libraries seek as they develop models for cooperation.

Letter opposing "student bill of rights" in Higher Education Act (April 2007)
As part of the Free Exchange on Campus Coalition, ALA and ACRL joined 9 other national organizations in urging the Senate to keep "student bill of rights" language out of the Higher Education Act. Such language would, in fact, "stifle the open debate and free exchange of ideas between students and teachers so fundamental to higher education."

Comments on single firm conduct (November 2006)
The Information Access Alliance (IAA) — representing ACRL and 6 other national library associations — submitted comments for the ongoing Joint Hearings on Single-Firm Conduct and Antitrust Law being held by the US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. The IAA has focused on activities it believes are reducing effective competition in scholarly publishing and creating barriers to new entrants into these markets. The IAA believes that single-firm anticompetitive conduct accounts at least in some part for the serious problems confronting libraries today.

Letter encouraging hearings on the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006 (July 2006)
PDF of a letter submitted by the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries, the American Association of Law Libraries, ACRL, ALA, the Association of Research Libraries, the Medical Library Association, the Special Libraries Association, and SPARC to Senator Collins encouraging the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs to hold hearings on the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006.

Comments on the European Commission's "Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets in Europe” (May 2006)
Letter submitted by the Information Access Alliance to the European Commission commending the commission on its "Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets in Europe.” The EC issued a  summary of the responses received on October 6, 2006.

Resolution in Support of Academic Freedom (January 2006)
ACRL endorsed the resolution, which ALA Council subsequently passed, reaffirming the principles of academic freedom and opposing any legislation or codification of documents like the “Academic Bill of Rights” that undermine academic and intellectual freedom, chill free speech, and/or otherwise interfere with the academic community’s well-established norms and values of scholarship and educational excellence.

World Law Bulletin (January 2006)
ACRL joined dozens of organizations and individuals in requesting that the Joint Committee on the Library encourage, if not direct, the Law Library of Congress to publish the World Law Bulletin on the World Wide Web for unrestricted public access.

Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) (November, December 2005)
ALA and ACRL along with ARL filed comments before the FCC seeking exemption for libraries from the extension of CALEA. ACRL, ALA and ARL as part of a coalition of business and public interest groups, signed on to a motion to stay the 18 month CALEA compliance date.

Statement on NIH Public Access Working Group (November 2005)
The Alliance for Taxpayer Access, a national coalition of over 60 library, non-profit, and patient advocacy groups – including ALA and ACRL – praised the NIH PAWG for recommending that researchers be required to deposit published articles resulting from NIH funding in PubMed Central, NIH's online database of journal literature.

Response to the Research Councils’ UK draft position statement on improved access to research outputs (August 2005)
Letter and memorandum submitted by the American Association of Law Libraries, ALA, Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries, ACRL, Association of Research Libraries, Medical Library Association, Public Knowledge, and SPARC in response to the Research Councils’ UK June 28, 2005 draft position statement on their emerging views on the issue of improved access to research outputs. ( also available in PDF)

Letter to NIH regarding implementation of new open access policy   (February 2005)
Letter from ACRL to the National Institutes of Health supporting the new open access policy with suggestions for improvements.

Letter to HHS regarding implementation of new NIH open access policy  (February 2005)
Letter from ACRL to the Secretary of Health and Human Services supporting the National Institutes of Health's new open access policy with suggestions for improvements.

Letter to NIH supporting "Enhanced Public Access to NIH Research Information" (November 2004)
Letter from ACRL to the National Institutes of Health supporting "Enhanced Public Access to NIH Research Information" NOT-OD-04-064, which proposes to provide free public access through PubMed Central to articles that result from NIH-funded research.

Letter to NIH Encouraging Support of Open Access (August 2004)
Letter by ACRL to the National Institutes of Health encouraging them to support open access to journal articles documenting agency-funded research.

Letter to NIH Encouraging Support of Open Access (January 2004; PDF)
Letter, sent on behalf of ALA, ACRL, ARL, SPARC, the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries, and the Medical Library Association, to the National Institutes of Health encouraging them to support open access to journal articles documenting agency-funded research.

US Response to the UK Inquiry into STM Publishing (February 2004; PDF)
Letter, sent on behalf of ALA, ACRL, ARL, SPARC, the American Association of Law Libraries, the Association of Academic Health Science Libraries, Public Knowledge, and the Medical Library Association, to the Science and Technology Committee of the UK parliament in response to its inquiry into scientific, technical, and medical publishing.

Statement on Fair Use and Electronic Reserves (November 2003)
Statement endorsed by ACRL, ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP), the Association of Research Libraries, the Association of American Law Libraries, the Medical Library Association, and the Special Libraries Association, in response to confusion about the TEACH Act and ongoing uncertainty regarding e-reserves and fair use.

ACRL Responds to Recording Industry Letter (December 2002)
Learn about ACRL's letter to academic library directors regarding peer-to-peer networking file sharing.