Category Archives: Advocacy

ACRL Comments on NSF Strategic Plan

On September 26, 2016, ACRL provided feedback to the National Science Foundation (NSF) in preparation for updates to its Strategic Plan. As reflected in previous ACRL support for governmental policies and legislation that facilitate open access and open education, including the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) mandate (mentioned in the NSF strategic plan) and the Fair Access to Science & Technology Research Act and Federal Research Public Access Act bills, ACRL is fundamentally committed to the open exchange of information to empower individuals and facilitate scientific discovery. In the comments to NSF, ACRL offered six recommendations to allow for research data and articles to be freely shared:

  1. Accelerate scientific discovery by encouraging the use of the shortest possible – or no – embargo period for access to NSF-funded publications;
  2. Improve the discoverability, utility and value of NSF-funded articles by depositing them in the PubMed Central repository, which currently houses more than four million articles from the NIH and six other Federal agencies in a standardized, machine-readable XML format;
  3. “Public access” is not “open access” – ensure that NSF articles meet OSTP requirements for enabling productive reuses – including computational analysis, and text and data mining – by requiring the use of a standard open license;
  4. The OSTP memorandum of February, 2013 speaks equally to public access to scientific publications and to scientific data in digital formats. NSF should improve the Agency’s accountability and transparency by requiring that data underlying NSF articles needed to validate/reproduce the articles’ conclusions be made publicly available upon publication;
  5. Incentivize NSF researchers to freely and quickly share articles and their underlying data through funding reviews and promotion processes; and
  6. Further improve NSF’s accountability and transparency by establishing a publicly accessible mechanism to track policy compliance results, including reporting on the number of articles produced from NSF-funded research, and how many are publicly accessible.

Read more in ACRL’s full feedback to NSF.

ACRL Commends Court Decision to Uphold Network Neutrality

On June 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit released its long-awaited opinion in U.S. Telecom Association v. FCC, upholding the FCC’s Open Internet Order from February 26, 2015, by a 2-1 vote. That order was significant for declaring broadband as a utility and setting rules to govern network neutrality by ensuring that broadband providers can’t block or degrade Internet traffic by creating “fast lanes” and “slow lanes.”

ACRL President Ann Campion Riley of the University of Missouri joined the ALA and others in applauding this recent decision to uphold net neutrality protections, saying “The U.S. Court of Appeals decision yesterday supports the high bandwidth applications and services that enable real-time collaboration, content creation, sharing, and learning by educational and community institutions, including libraries. We are pleased the court recognizes the importance of keeping an open Internet and ensuring that Internet providers do not discriminate against users by charging premiums or restricting access, content, applications, or services.”

ACRL has long had an interest in net neutrality, most recently joining three other library associations in a September 2015 amicus brief to support the FCC’s net neutrality rules and including net neutrality on ACRL’s 2016 legislative agenda as a policy issue of concern. Read more about libraries’ advocacy supporting network neutrality.

ACRL Joins In Opposing California Law to Exert Copyright Over Public Records

On June 6, ACRL joined a broad coalition of more than 20 education, library, free speech, open government, and public interest organizations in a letter to the State of California Senate Judiciary Committee opposing legislation in California that would grant blanket authorization to state entities to assert copyright over taxpayer-funded work.

The letter comes in response to California’s A.B. 2880, a state bill that would allow governments at the California state, county, and local levels to exercise copyright restrictions on government-produced materials. The bill was approved by the California State Assembly in a 73-3 vote, and now sits with the State Senate Judiciary Committee.

The core arguments outlined in the letter stress that the legislation:

  1. turns current law on its head rather than clarifying currently law;
  2. would establish a default rule enforceable by federal litigation that all state records can be restricted by copyright;
  3. imposes restrictions on the dissemination and use of written and audiovisual materials; and
  4. discourages research and reporting on public data and threatens citizen participation in government by reserving statutory damages as high as $150,000 per infringed work.

Read more about this legislation in a blog post from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and, if you are a California resident, contact your state legislators and let them know you oppose A.B. 2880.

Take Action for Virtual Library Legislative Day

National Library Legislative Day informational graphic, May 2-3, 2016, Washington, DC Not able to make it to Washington D.C. next week for National Library Legislative Day? Don’t worry, you can still join virtually!

Help amplify the key advocacy messages advocates in D.C. will be sending Congress by committing to emailing, calling, or Tweeting at your Senators and Representative from May 2-6th. Sign up in advance via the Virtual Library Legislative Day registration form to receive talking points and resources that you can use to send an email, make a call, or post a Tweet through the ALA Legislative Action Center.

We have additional resources to help you prepare for National Library Legislative Day 2016 or Virtual Library Legislative Day including information on what to know before you go straight from advocacy expert Stephanie Vance!

Prepare to advocate with morning briefing sessions streamed live from Washington, D.C., on Monday, May 2, starting at 9:00am EDT. You’ll get a chance to hear Former Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) give a keynote, along with a timely rundown of all the major legislative issues that we’re addressing this year.

Find out more about issues at the national level affecting the welfare of academic and research libraries in the recently released ACRL 2016 Legislative Agenda.

Help expand the impact that advocates have on National Library Legislative Day by participating virtually. Sign up to participate and check out this handy resource toolkit, put together by the Harry Potter Alliance, for librarians who may want to get younger advocates involved. You can find out more by visiting the United for Libraries and the Harry Potter Alliance web pages, or by subscribing to the ALA Action Center.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Lisa Lindle, Grassroots Communications Specialist for ALA Washington.

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!

–Catherine Soehner, Chair, ACRL Government Relations Committee

ACRL Sets 2016 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 2016 ACRL Legislative Agenda in time for National Library Legislative Day, May 2-3, in Washington, D.C.

The 2016 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 early May by calling or emailing Congress as part of ALA’s Virtual Library Legislative Day. Over the next few weeks, please take a moment to register and then ask others in your circles — members, followers, patrons, fellow library staffers, and listservs — to join. The ALA Washington Office will be providing talking points and other handy resources you can use to advocate easily and effectively. They will also be providing a webstream of the National Library Legislative day program, live from Washington, on the morning of May 2nd. You’ll have the chance to hear keynote speaker, former Congressman Rush Holt, and listen in on this year’s issue briefing.


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