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ALIA calls for public access to Australian Standards

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) has called for a non-exclusive distribution model of Standards information in Australia, in its submission to the Standards Australia Distribution and Licensing Policy Framework.

In a joint submission made with National and State Libraries Australia (NSLA) and the Australian Library Copyright Committee (ALCC), ALIA said it supports Standards Australia’s proposed principles of ‘greater reach, awareness and use of Standards, ensuring long-term sustainability’. However, the library partners argue that ‘access’ should be included as a principle, to set a minimum requirement for public access to the Standards.

ALIA said Australia’s 13,600 libraries offer a ‘unique opportunity to provide access to Standards in ways which complement and balance the commercial imperative with the public good’.

‘By combining forces, ALIA, NSLA and ALCC have been able to put forward a compelling, well-researched, evidence-based submission, despite a tight deadline. We have also been represented at consultation forums in several cities and Standards Australia commented about the strength of the library lobby at these events,’ said ALIA CEO Sue McKerracher.

Australian Standards publications are produced by Standards Australia, a non-government, not-for-profit organisation, which maintains more than 9000 Standards governing industries and products across Australia. However, since 2003, multinational risk management services company SAI Global has held exclusive rights to the sale, marketing and distribution of Australian Standards.

In February this year Standards Australia announced that any extended distribution agreement with SAI Global beyond this year would be non-exclusive.

In 2016, the NLA and state libraries lost online access to Australian Standards publications after negotiations between NSLA and SAI Global broke down over what then-NSLA chair Alex Byrne said was an ‘unrealistic price point’ from SAI Global.


Category: Library news