In January 2020, nine research university associations signed the Sorbonne declaration on research data rights, affirming their commitment to opening up research data and highlighting key roles that the academic community will play to enable data sharing and reuse. The declaration called on the global scholarly and research community to make data accessible and, by transcending disciplinary, institutional, and national boundaries, to accelerate scientific discoveries and economic development.

The International Alliance of Research Library Associations (IARLA), on behalf of the research library community in Australia, Canada, Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States, applauds and supports this declaration.

As partners throughout the research lifecycle, research libraries welcome the Sorbonne commitments and support their achievement with services, expert guidance and infrastructure. Libraries work with the research enterprise to shape and influence public and institutional research data policy and practice to optimize research integrity, longevity, discovery and use. Curating, sharing, and preserving research data requires deep investment in infrastructure and expertise, and collaboration within and across research institutions is a key strategy for the sustainability of those investments.

As a collaborative partner, we commit to advancing the principles in many ways, including:

Building an environment that supports the global sharing of research data

Research libraries work with national policy makers, coalitions and institutional decision makers to inform and shape policies that support global sharing of research data.  Research libraries contribute to data sharing practices by providing services such as data curation throughout the research lifecycle, consultation on licensing and rights regimes, implementation of FAIR principles for scientific data management and stewardship, and data citation practices; shaping policy, maintaining  and connecting infrastructure including repositories, discovery platforms, persistent identifiers, and registries; and training in areas such as research data use and management, ethics, and data protection. Research libraries also advocate for and inform decisions about commercial platforms and data services to ensure openness and the reusability of research data.

Providing interoperable data repositories and fostering best practices to share research data

Many of our libraries manage data repositories for their institutions, and as a part of that stewardship responsibility collaborate on shaping institutional policy, provide curation and promote global data management standards, protocols, and identifiers. Research librarians also work with scholars on data management planning and preparing data for deposit in disciplinary and government-maintained repositories. Finally, research libraries advise policy-makers, funding agencies, and publishers about the criteria for good data repositories, and best practices for sharing research data.

Supporting improved Research information management and interlinking research assets

Growing recommendations and requirements for FAIR data and data sharing bring concerns about administrative burden on researchers. Research libraries are committed to collaboration across our institutions, and with public policy makers for the adoption of policies and practices that promote operational harmonization across systems that reduce burden. This includes the use of persistent identifiers for people, data, publications, projects, and organizations to enable the interlinking of research outputs, and integration with faculty profile systems and other research information management services. Use of standardized metadata and identifiers also helps track provenance.

We look forward to working with our colleagues in the research enterprise to implement our commitments.


IARLA is an alliance of research library associations representing constituents in Australia, Canada, Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States. We develop agreed positions in order to advance an international research library agenda particularly in order to advance open scholarship.