The International Alliance of Research Library Associations (IARLA), representing the research libraries of Australia, Canada, Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States, has amplified the calls that the associations and others have made toward easing access restrictions on digital content during the COVID-19 crisis.
One of the widespread responses to the crisis in the post-secondary education sector has been a rapid shift from face-to-face to remote instruction. This trend is likely to continue for the rest of the academic term, and possibly much longer. As courses change, students need access to course materials and library resources in digital formats. Likewise, academic research in all fields—and most importantly, on urgent global challenges such as the pandemic itself—must be able to continue through this period of university and lab closures.
Firewalls, restrictive licenses, and unduly cautious or narrow interpretations of copyright stand in the way of remote instruction and research, as they limit access to course materials, library resources, and peer scholarship. Such measures also limit the ability of researchers to share the results of their work.
The current situation calls for flexibility, good will, and collaboration so that post-secondary institutions can fulfill their educational responsibilities and provide remote services using in-copyright works without fear of litigation.
IARLA member associations are all signatories to the ‘Statement on the Global COVID-19 Pandemic and Its Impact on Library Services’ issued by the International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC).
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