May 17, 2022

Statement: ARL Urges Publishers to Maximize Access to Digital Content during COVID-19 Pandemic

From the Association of Research Libraries:

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) joins global library associations in urging publishers to maximize access to digital content during the emergency conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an unprecedented time for the academic enterprise, and humanity will benefit from an unprecedented response by publishers in support of research and learning.

This week, ARL signed a statement by the International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC), an informal organization of state, regional, and peer library organizations that collaborate on resource sharing and electronic licensing. The statement calls on publishers to ease the restrictions on simultaneous usage and interlibrary loan that may accompany subscription-based digital content. During this crisis, as research and education move almost exclusively online, ARL applauds both ICOLC’s leadership and publishers who have responded by opening previously paywalled content. Around the world, library associations (including in Australia, Canada, France, and the UK) are amplifying the message to publishers: maximize access to digital content to advance research and ensure academic continuity during this crisis. With this national and global imperative, ARL makes the following requests regarding COVID-19-related research, online research and learning more broadly, and educational equity.

COVID-19 Research

ARL endorses this global movement to open academic digital content to ensure students can continue their studies, and scholars can continue their research and work to end the pandemic. As research library leaders, our member representatives understand that innovation, particularly in emergencies at a global scale, often happens at disciplinary intersections. Given this, we urge publishers of digital content to embrace an expansive view of COVID-19-related research materials (including articles, book chapters, multimedia, and data) as they temporarily remove paywalls and create open resource portals related to the virus. We ask publishers to open up access to COVID-19-relevant research on respiration, crisis and disaster management and response, clinical psychology, and other areas that should be made open as the global research community searches for vaccines and treatments and advises national and local responses.

Learn More, Read the Complete Statement from ARL

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.