ACRL Speaks Out

To increase ACRL's visibility and influence in the arena of higher education policy development, legislation, and best practices, ACRL speaks out on important issues. Below are examples of ACRL's participation in activities geared towards creating change. ACRL is active in advocating for policy and legislation through the ALA Washington Office, as well as through coalition work with groups such as the Open Access Working Group and the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) for joint work with ALA and ARL on copyright issues such as fair use, trade agreements, and Google Book Search settlement. Additional resources for member advocates include:


Letter on Higher Education Funding in Alaska (March 4, 2019)
ACRL joined a number of professional societies representing tens of thousands of faculty members and students from humanistic and social scientific disciplines in signing a letter expressing deep concern about Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy’s proposed funding cuts for higher education.


Comments to National Institutes of Health, Office of Science Policy, on Data Management and Sharing (December 5, 2018)
ACRL provided comments in response to the NIH Request for Information on Proposed Provisions for a Draft Data Management and Sharing Policy for NIH Funded or Supported Research. In commenting on the definition of scientific data, ACRL suggested that NIH reconsider the exclusion of laboratory notebooks and case reports. In commenting on the requirement for a data management and sharing plan, ACRL made several suggestions including that NIH provide guidance on making data shareable, clearly define key terms, consider designating the data management plan (DMP) as Additional Review Criteria and incorporating review of the DMP in the overall impact score, reconsider the proposed DMP limit of 2 pages, and offer more explicit guidance to explain minimally adequate preservation. In commenting on the optimal timing implementation, ACRL noted that with robust guidance and infrastructure, a year of community preparation could be sufficient and suggested providing tutorials or other learning objects in the call for proposals could be helpful. ACRL concluded by applauding the NIH for allowing costs associated with data management and sharing to be requested in the budget allowance.

Comments to Environmental Protection Agency (August 14, 2018)
ACRL provided comments on “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” the proposed rule by the EPA on 05/25/2018. The comments noted that the proposed rule is problematic and stated, "While ACRL is generally committed to principles of scientific transparency and openness, we are concerned about the rule’s proposed selective use of “open” as an enabling strategy in the EPA’s policy-making process. We support requirements to make data underlying scientific studies openly available for the purposes of validation, replication and new research. However, we recognize that there are many instances when it is simply not possible–or preferable–to do so."

Letter to Committee on the Judiciary on Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act, S. 2559 (July 24, 2018)
ACRL joined nine other library, research and advocacy organizations to express strong support of the passage of the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act, S. 2559. The letter states that, “The implementing legislation embodies a consensus approach which balances the need to expand access to information for people who are blind around the world with the responsibility to properly safeguard the interests of rights holders.”

Letter to Senator Orrin Hatch on Geospatial Data Act of 2017 (April 13, 2018)
ACRL joined twenty-three other library, research and advocacy organizations to express concerns regarding language in the Geospatial Data Act of 2017. The letter states that, “there is no basis in law that calls for the government to rely on and use of the private sector in the provision of geospatial data to the maximum extent practical.” Additionally, the proposed amendment that, “Any data acquired through commercial contracts will be made available to the public,” is seriously concerning, and the letter states that, “By entering into a contract with an external party, federal agencies are potentially allowing these parties the ability to assert ownership of such data.”

Letter to California Committee on Accountability & Administrative in Support of AB 2192 (April 4, 2018)
ACRL joined eight other national and regional library, publishing, research and advocacy organizations to express support of the amendments contained in AB 2192 of the “California Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research Act.” The amended language in AB 2192 would require all articles reporting on California state funded research be made publicly available to all in a timely, barrier-free manner.

Comments to National Institutes of Health (April 2, 2018)
ACRL responded to a request for information issued March 5, 2018, on first National Institutes of Health (NIH) Strategic Plan for Data Science.

AHA Statement Condemning Polish Law Criminalizing Public Discussion of Polish Complicity in Nazi War Crimes (February 2018)
At the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver, the ACRL Board of Directors signed on to an American Historical Association (AHA) statement condemning Polish law criminalizing public discussion of Polish complicity in Nazi war crimes.


Comments to National Library of Medicine (October 31, 2017)
ACRL responded to a call for information issued September 26, 2017, on next-generation data science challenges in health and biomedicine, specifically these areas: promising directions for new data science research in the context of human health and disease; promising directions for new initiatives relating to open science and research reproducibility; and promising directions for workforce development and new partnerships.

Comments to National Institutes of Health (January 19, 2017)
ACRL responded to a Request for Information issued November 14, 2016, on strategies for data management, sharing, and citation in order to consider what, when, and how data should be managed and shared; and setting standards for citing shared data and software.


Comments to National Science Foundation (September 26, 2016)
ACRL provided feedback to the National Science Foundation (NSF) in preparation for updates to its Strategic Plan, offering six recommendations to allow for research data and articles to be freely shared

Comments to National Cancer Institute (June 30, 2016)
ACRL responded to Request for Information issued on May 13, 2016, with regard to the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative and offered four recommendations for actions to allow for research data and articles to be freely shared.


Comments to Department of Education on Open Licensing (December 18, 2015)
ALA and ACRL applauded the Department of Education’s proposed rule for “Open Licensing Requirement for Direct Grant Programs” (proposed § 3474.20) which would amend regulations so that all Department grantees who are awarded direct competitive grant funds are required to openly license content to the public. 

UPCEA Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Learning (October 23, 2015)
The ACRL Board of Directors endorsed the University Professional and Continuing Education Association’s (UPCEA) Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Learning document at its 2015 Fall Executive Committee meeting. The Board agrees this document is reflective of current changing landscapes in higher education, and is pleased to join other higher organizations in endorsing.

Affordable College Textbook Act (October 8, 2015)
ACRL joined with 13 others to support the Affordable College Textbook Act, introduced by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN) and Angus King (I-ME). The legislation is designed to help students manage costs by making high quality textbooks easily accessible to students, professors and the public for free.

Network Neutrality Amicus Brief (September 21, 2015)
ALA, ACRL, ARL, COSLA stepped to the front lines in the battle to preserve network neutrality by filing an amici curiae brief supporting the respondent in the case of United States Telecom Association (USTA) v. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and United States of America. They argued in support of the FCC’s strong, enforceable rules to protect and preserve the open internet. Earlier, on September 4 these same library organizations requested the right to file the brief.

Letter to White House on Open Educational Resources (August 4, 2015)
ACRL joined a broad coalition of more than 90 education, library, technology, public interest, and legal organizations in a letter calling on the White House to take administrative action to ensure federally funded educational materials are made available as Open Educational Resources (OER) that are free to use, share, and improve.

Statement Defending Tenure and Academic Freedom (June 11, 2015)
ACRL joined with 21 other scholarly societies in a statement protesting proposed changes to the structure of the University of Wisconsin system that threaten to undermine tenure, shared governance, and academic freedom in Wisconsin.

Talking Points: The Bandwidth Battle (PDF) (April 2015)
ACRL President Karen A. Williams and ALA President Courtney Young comment on net neutrality and why it matters for higher education in a column for CURRENTS, a publication of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).