Category Archives: Advocacy

Global Coalition Denounces Elsevier’s Sharing Policy

Organizations around the world denounce Elsevier’s new policy that impedes open access and sharing

On April 30, 2015, Elsevier announced a new sharing and hosting policy for Elsevier journal articles. This policy represents a significant obstacle to the dissemination and use of research knowledge, and creates unnecessary barriers for Elsevier published authors in complying with funders’ open access policies. In addition, the policy has been adopted without any evidence that immediate sharing of articles has a negative impact on publishers subscriptions.

Despite the claim by Elsevier that the policy advances sharing, it actually does the opposite. The policy imposes unacceptably long embargo periods of up to 48 months for some journals. It also requires authors to apply a “non-commercial and no derivative works” license for each article deposited into a repository, greatly inhibiting the re-use value of these articles. Any delay in the open availability of research articles curtails scientific progress and places unnecessary constraints on delivering the benefits of research back to the public.

Furthermore, the policy applies to “all articles previously published and those published in the future” making it even more punitive for both authors and institutions. This may also lead to articles that are currently available being suddenly embargoed and inaccessible to readers.

As organizations committed to the principle that access to information advances discovery, accelerates innovation and improves education, we support the adoption of policies and practices that enable the immediate, barrier free access to and reuse of scholarly articles. This policy is in direct conflict with the global trend towards open access and serves only to dilute the benefits of openly sharing research results.

We strongly urge Elsevier to reconsider this policy and we encourage other organizations and individuals to express their opinions.

ACRL is among the signatories of the above statement. See the complete list and sign on on as an individual or organization.

Information Policy: Some Perspectives from the ALA Washington Office

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from Alan Inouye from the ALA Washington Office.

Hello ACRLers. I’m Alan Inouye, the director of ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) in ALA’s Washington Office. I’m delighted that ACRL has agreed to let me post occasionally about developments in information policy and the Washington Office that may be of interest to ACRL members.

I know that one of the most important information policy areas for academic and research libraries is copyright. Not accidentally then, copyright advocacy is perhaps the most intensive shared initiative between ACRL and the Washington Office. Much of our joint work takes place under the rubric of the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA), which includes ACRL, ALA (Washington Office), and the Association of Research Libraries. Over the years, we have engaged in the highest-profile cases through LCA, such as Google Books, Georgia State, and HathiTrust.

Currently, the triennial review of section 1201 (anti-circumvention) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is taking place, and LCA is submitting comments, working through our copyright counsel Jonathan Band; Kara Malenfant and Mary Ellen Davis for ACRL; and Washington Office staffers Carrie Russell and Adam Eisgrau. The U.S. House Judiciary committee completed its initial review of the copyright law. LCA submitted an additional summary of comments to date, and will continue to advocate on topics expected to be addressed in legislation including orphan works, Section 108, and mass digitization.

You may have heard about the recent announcement that the Re:Create copyright coalition launched, with ALA as a founding member. This coalition will greatly help to push out our messages about the utility of fair use and the importance of balanced copyright law—for everyone, whether entrepreneur, educator, or et al. Most important is the composition of the coalition as it includes influential industry groups such as the Consumers Electronics Association and groups with diverse viewpoints on the ideological spectrum. We’re optimistic that this new coalition will greatly bolster the ability to get the library perspective communicated to more national decision makers and influencers.

Also on the copyright front, Carrie Russell was able to present the L. Ray Patterson award to Georgia K. Harper, recently retired as scholarly communications advisor for the University of Texas, Austin. The award was presented in conjunction with the recent Texas Library Association conference in Austin.

Finally, I would like to say a belated thank you to the ACRL community for the opportunity to speak at the ACRL Leadership Council at the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting. I talked about the Policy Revolution! Initiative, an effort led by OITP to re-engineer how the library community engages in national public policy, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The premise of the initiative is that since libraries are in the midst of a revolution, how we pursue public policy also needs to be reconsidered fundamentally, and moved towards a more proactive stance.

The first major phase is to develop a national public policy agenda, which the various entities within the library community may use as guidance for their own policy goals. In communicating with national decision makers and influencers, the various advocates within the library community need to be consistent in messaging—else we’ll have a rather difficult time in making headway with them. Many thanks to the academic and research librarians who provided comments. The final version of the agenda will be released by this summer.

I look forward to making future posts—next time, likely on the Policy Revolution! Initiative—and talking with some ACRLers at the upcoming ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco.


The Bandwidth Battle

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).

The loss of net neutrality would most threaten the high bandwidth applications and services that enable real-time collaboration, content creation, sharing, and learning by education and other community institutions, including libraries.

The column is freely available on the CASE website.

Take Action on Virtual Library Legislative Day

The timing for this week’s National Library Legislative Day is suddenly very relevant for academic librarians. The USA Freedom Act, that aims to put some much needed limits on the PATRIOT Act, is working its way through the House and has a better than even chance of making it through the Senate, but only if we librarians give it a push and provide some much needed backbone to House members and Senators sitting on the fence.

At the same time, the deep, inside game on Net Neutrality is happening on the Hill. Lobbyists for the big cable companies hope to develop enough congressional opposition to the FCC’s rule making in favor of an open Internet to adjust those rules and achieve their long term goal of permanently creating an Internet fast lane (and not coincidentally an extra revenue stream for them.) Again, Congress needs to hear from academic librarians about the negative impact of this on our students and faculty.

And in March, FASTR was reintroduced in both the House and Senate, which would provide greater public access to taxpayer-funded research. We must continue asking our Members of Congress to co-sponsor and pass this legislation so that research results are shared widely across institutions and disciplines as well as outside the halls of higher ed.

Virtual Library Legislative Day comes at just the right time for you to make the difference. Contact your legislators electronically and by phone all week long. Here is how:

Your personal, real world library experience is the key to helping legislators understand how the policies and legislation they are working on can impact library users. Please lend your voices!

– Jonathan Miller, Chair, ACRL Government Relations Committee

ACRL Sets 2015 Legislative Agenda

Each year, the ACRL Government Relations Committee, in consultation with the ACRL Board of Directors and staff, formulates an ACRL Legislative Agenda. Drafted with input from key ACRL committees, ACRL leaders, and the ALA Washington Office, the ACRL Legislative Agenda is prioritized and focuses on issues at the national level affecting the welfare of academic and research libraries. The ACRL Board of Directors recently approved the 2015 ACRL Legislative Agenda in time for National Library Legislative Day, May 4-5, in Washington, D.C.

The 2015 ACRL Legislative Agenda focuses on two issues that the U.S. Congress has recently taken, or will most likely take, action on in the year ahead: access to federally funded research and curbing government surveillance. The agenda also includes a watch list of policy issues of great concern to academic librarians. Legislation on these issues is not likely to arise and, moreover, ACRL does not believe that any legislation about these issues is necessary. Issues on the watch list are: net neutrality, copyright reform, fair use, “making available” right, preservation and reproduction exceptions, orphan works, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. ACRL will continue tracking these issues and advocate for the best interests of academic and research libraries, if necessary. Read the complete legislative agenda for more details.

Don’t forget to advocate for libraries in May by calling or emailing Congress as part of ALA’s Virtual Library Legislative Day.

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