The International Alliance of Research Library Associations (IARLA) — a collaboration between LIBER, the Association of Research Libraries, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) and Research Libraries UK (RLUK) — has released a values statement which reaffirms longstanding library values, and those that make research libraries unique.
The statement is designed for all research libraries, and aims to take a long-term perspective. It also aims to start conversations and make the case for why libraries are the best organisation to host a range of services that benefit research, scholarship and learning because of our commitments to stewardship, preservation and skills.
The statement is complementary to values statements previously adopted by research library associations. It does not seek to replace them but rather to augment and amplify the importance of values in the current era.
We encourage our members to use this statement in their negotiations, communication on campus and with other research organisations, and in discussions with staff.
Research Libraries: Our Values
Research libraries – including national, academic, and research institute libraries – are integral to advancing research excellence, and student and faculty success in this increasingly complex networked world. We recognise that research is global, crosses all borders and disciplines, and that research libraries are active partners in ensuring new knowledge from research produced in our institutions is available to the world.
Research libraries collaborate globally, regionally and nationally to advance the infrastructure, networks, standards, and best practices that enable research today and for future generations.
Research libraries enable discovery and access to knowledge through our collections, professional expertise, and infrastructure which in turn foster creativity, research, scholarship, and innovation through the flow of knowledge in our communities.
We are a public good, providing;
- essential information and knowledge infrastructure, thereby underpinning inquiry, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of society
- access to significant collections of scholarly content, cultural heritage, and creative works
- long term preservation of the knowledge by means of which our global society is developed and sustained
- services that enable excellence in research and learning.
As organisations that support research, cultural heritage, learning and inquiry, we uphold as our core values:
The primacy of global access to information for learning and scholarship
- Research libraries provide, as inherent to our mission, broad access to the world’s knowledge. Access to information includes unfiltered and unrestricted access where possible, together with advocacy to improve the conditions that provide for that access. As the world’s major purchasers of scholarly journals and scholarly content, we strive for fair pricing and transparent conditions, balanced rights frameworks, open access, interoperability, and related enabling policies in an increasingly integrated and global setting.
- We innovate to improve discovery and use of information, and collaborate to maximise the value of our resources using new research methods, digital scholarship, and other advances.
The importance of stewardship, production and preservation of information resources as a public good
- We are committed to preserving and ensuring long-term ongoing access to scholarship, media, government records, and information created by the public.
- We foster creativity and scholarship in our institutions by making available research outputs through repositories, undertaking publishing, and promoting research outputs to enable research to be managed on behalf of the academy. We uphold the commitment to preserve the records of contemporary history, science, and culture for current and future generations, and their accurate use, citation, verification, and reproducibility.
The principles of academic and intellectual freedom
- Research libraries affirm academic and intellectual freedom, privacy, and transparency, in an environment where these may be challenged by policies, beliefs, changing behaviours, or commercial interests. We seek to help our communities understand how these issues impact their use of scholarly, media, government, and other types of information in their academic lives.
The importance of diversity and inclusion
- Research libraries seek to be welcoming and inclusive spaces while supporting freedom of expression to the fullest extent. We put a premium on cooperation rather than competition, while acknowledging that competition between research teams, institutions and countries has an important role in the advancement of research. We seek to reflect the diversity of our societies in our collections.
Commitment to professional and ethical standards and practice
- We respect user privacy and research ethics.