Washington, DC—On November 18, 2011, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and LYRASIS signed an agreement designating LYRASIS as an agent to negotiate licenses for online content on behalf of interested ARL member libraries. This is the culmination of an effort that began in 2010 to identify a strategy for ARL to influence the marketplace regarding licensing rights, technical specifications, and business terms to meet the needs of research libraries.
This activity has involved task forces, the Reshaping Scholarly Communication Steering Committee, and the ARL Board. The initial task force drafted a white paper outlining the potential areas of action that ARL could take and content that could be considered, and a second task force developed an RFP that went to prospective agents. The Board approved the recommendations, RFP, and agent decision. The license offerings identified for this initiative will not be exclusive to ARL members, but may include libraries with which they have established licensing relationships.
Commenting on this initiative, ARL Executive Director Charles Lowry said, "We are pleased to be working with LYRASIS to strengthen the hand of research libraries in negotiating content licenses that address issues of importance to our communities. While price is important, it is equally desirable that agreements not place limits around electronic information that inhibit the legal rights of libraries to use the materials appropriately as they would print materials to support scholarship and learning." Noted Kate Nevins, LYRASIS Executive Director, "LYRASIS welcomes the opportunity to work with ARL and publishers to effect needed strategic changes in content licenses. We also are committed, as required by the ARL effort, to extending the benefits of this important initiative beyond the ARL community to other libraries and consortia."
An ARL Licensing Working Group will serve in an advisory capacity to ARL and LYRASIS in the execution of this agreement. A special email list open to designated representatives from all ARL members is also being created to communicate information as the initiative moves forward.
About the Association of Research Libraries
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 126 research libraries in the US and Canada. Its mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at http://www.arl.org/.
Created in April 2009 by the merger of PALINET and SOLINET and joined shortly thereafter by NELINET, LYRASIS is the nation's largest regional membership organization serving libraries and information professionals — providing opportunities for networking and collaboration, offering innovative solutions, and significant cost savings through group purchasing for products and services. For more information, please visit http://www.lyrasis.org.