Major Research Library Organizations Meet to Discuss International Collaboration

March 31, 2016 – The first joint meeting of five of the world’s most prominent academic and research library organizations took place at the British Library in London on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, ahead of the Research Libraries UK Conference. The meeting gathered together the elected leaders and executive directors of the following organizations:
ARL Association of Research Libraries (US and Canada)

  • CARL Canadian Association of Research Libraries/Association des Bibliothèques de Recherche du Canada
  • CAUL Council of Australian University Librarians
  • LIBER Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche/Association of European Research Libraries
  • RLUK Research Libraries UK

LondonMeetupLively discussion centered on the potential for strategic, collaborative approaches to the rapidly changing landscape of research libraries and that of the publishing and scholarly communications environment.

Key issues emerging included:

  • How to ensure that research libraries meet the diverse disciplinary needs of their faculty and research users
  • The importance of research data and curation
  • Preservation of the scholarly record, and the challenge of digital obsolescence
  • Reforms to intellectual property and licensing regimes
  • The open access agenda—how to make scholarly publishing work more effectively and sustainably
  • Transparency and accountability in agreements with publishers of scholarly journals
  • The challenge of conveying the value and expertise of research libraries in the increasingly virtual realm

While the group was initially established as an informal forum, participants were stimulated by the concordant themes raised and were unanimous in their commitment to seeding an international alliance. The group will seek to identify priorities for joint attention and action over the next few months. Follow-up meetings are already being planned, and the group will seek to take concrete proposals to the respective boards of the five organizations in due course.

John MacColl, chair of RLUK, commented, “It was very gratifying to have these four major research library organizations respond positively to our invitation to join RLUK in London for this first meeting. We feel that the academic library community needs to combine its efforts across the world to tackle some of the pressing problems of scholarly research information management in the digital, networked age. We are anxious to build an ongoing programme of joint activity from this first meeting—at which we identified a number of common issues and a sense of how a collective approach could be a powerful way to address them.”