The International Alliance of Research Library Associations (IARLA) — a global coalition of major research and academic library associations in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the United States — recognises the importance of working towards a common vision for open data. We firmly believe that open data holds the key to addressing many societal challenges worldwide.
IARLA views the Science International accord on ‘Open Data in a Big Data World’ as an important step towards creating and enabling this common vision of the importance of open data. In setting out principles for open data that are derived from emerging practices within the scientific community, the accord lends the voice of a key stakeholder to the case for open data and provides a practical road map for the implementation of open data at the global level.
We fully endorse the principles outlined in the accord. In particular we welcome the acknowledgment of the role that libraries can play in supporting open data. Indeed, libraries have a continuing role to collect, organise, and preserve knowledge, and to make it accessible. Within the open science environment these roles imply the provision of assistance and expert advice throughout the research life cycle, including facilitating the creation of data management plans, the use of metadata, and the curation and stewardship of data to make it available and visible over the long term. Libraries aim to create a supportive environment for scientists who wish to make their data open and for individuals who wish to discover, access, and reuse these data.
By signing this accord we declare our commitment to working with the scientific community in making publicly funded research data open by default. Data are the building blocks of knowledge. Therefore libraries, which exist to ensure access to knowledge, are key stakeholders in the open data environment. Libraries have a responsibility to make data discoverable, accessible, intelligible, assessable, and usable. It is of the utmost importance that the library community engage with the global scientific and research community on this issue in venues such as the Research Data Alliance. We look forward to engaging in the dialogue initiated by this accord and to working with the global community of stakeholders to implement the principles the accord promotes.
About the International Alliance of Research Library Associations
The International Alliance of Research Library Associations (IARLA) is a coalition of five of the world’s most prominent academic and research library organisations: Association of Research Libraries (ARL), Canadian Association of Research Libraries/ Association des Bibliothèques de Recherche du Canada (CARL/ABRC), Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL), Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche/Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER), and Research Libraries UK (RLUK). The alliance formed in 2016 to collaboratively address the most pressing issues of scholarly research information management in the digital, networked age.
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Top image courtesy of Queen Mary, University of London Library