Supporting quality information: libraries and publishers dialogue

(15 March 2018)  Libraries and publishers both play an essential role in the production of, and the provision of access to, creativity and knowledge. In their pursuit of this goal, we are affected by the same trends, and share many of the same concerns.

The 35th meeting of the international organisations representing publishers and libraries in London on 9th March saw agreement on a number of these priorities. Participants came from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the International Publishers Association (IPA) and the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM).

The participants underlined their common interest in advancing discussions at the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s (WIPO) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights. In a joint letter to WIPO’s Director General, they are urging that organisation to take steps to ensure meaningful discussion on proposed action plans on exceptions and limitations for libraries, archives and museums at the Committee’s next meeting.

Following years of discussion on this topic at the global level, it is time for practical progress which will make it easier for libraries and publishers to work together on the regional, national and local levels. This will contribute to maximising access to information around the world in a sustainable fashion.

The representatives of the libraries and publishers also stressed the challenge posed by deliberately deceptive scholarly journals, which cost researchers both money and reputation. We agreed to work further to identify and promote tools, such as Think, Check, Submit, which help researchers and librarians take a proactive stance in identifying and avoiding such publications.

They agreed that written works must be recognised as an essential pillar of heritage. In designing cultural policies and programmes, governments should ensure that the written word is properly preserved and supported. In line with the UNESCO Recommendation on documentary heritage of 2015, there need to be meaningful preservation policies for the digital age – the good practices already adopted by many publishers should be shared more widely.

Finally, they reiterated the message in the joint IFLA-IPA statement of 28 September 2016 that there should be no trade-off between quality and quantity of information. While the growing amount of information that is produced and access is to be celebrated, there is an enduring need for excellence.

IFLA, IPA and STM confirmed a further meeting to take forward these discussions would be held in September 2018.

The announcement is here.