May 18, 2011

In a strong display of bi-partisanship, the New York State Senate today unanimously passed legislation introduced by Senator Jim Alesi (R, C, I – Perinton), that would enable public and private academic and research libraries in New York State to create an information infrastructure unequaled in the world. Known as ARIA, the Academic Research Information Access Act (S.3736-A), leverages the state’s public and private higher education sector – arguably the largest and most diverse in the nation – to facilitate collaboration and efficiencies by providing for the voluntary pooling of assets in order to obtain access to high-end electronic, peer-reviewed, information resources such as journals, serials, and databases. “New York is rich in highly recognized two-year and four-year, public and private, colleges and universities,” said Senator Alesi.  “ARIA will serve as a mechanism whereby our academic and research libraries can pool financial resources and electronic materials to implement a collaborative information infrastructure that will expand access to cutting-edge research, particularly in STEM studies: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  Moreover, when fully implemented, ARIA will lower costs for colleges and universities, and small businesses, furthering innovation, entrepreneurialism and job creation.”  “For years, New York has sought to leverage its incredible academic sector to support economic growth.  ARIA does that, and does it in a way that actually saves dollars” said Jason Kramer, Executive Director, New York State Higher Education Initiative.  “I applaud Senator Alesi for securing passage of ARIA in the State Senate and for his leadership in bringing a thriving knowledge-based economy to Upstate New York.”As the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business, as well as a longtime member of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, Senator Alesi recognizes the dual impact that his legislation will have on education and business in New York State. “For swift economic revitalization in New York, we must utilize our strengths, like our colleges and universities, yet access to STEM materials is increasing in demand and they are becoming more and more expensive,” continued Senator Alesi.  “As a former business owner myself, experience demonstrates that vendors concede the greatest cost-savings when collective buying power is applied and when there is a single contract holder.  ARIA seizes on all these opportunities and offers a way to promote both campus-based research and off-campus job creation without adding new costs to taxpayers.”“The Academic Research Information Access (ARIA) act is a perfect example of how collaboration among New York’s colleges and universities can support entrepreneurs, small business owners and community-based organizations. Pursuing statewide contracts and licenses of electronic information resources makes fiscal sense in these challenging times, and making cutting-edge information available to those outside of campus communities will support regional economic development,” said Laura L. Anglin, president of the Albany-based Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU), which represents 112 private, not-for-profit colleges and universities on higher education public policy issues. Supported by CICU and endorsed by the New York State Commission on Higher Education, it is expected that ARIA will save SUNY between $7-9 million annually, CUNY between $2-3 million annually, and New York State’s independent colleges and universities between $5-15 million annually.  Electronic information resources account for 30 percent of the budgets at state academic and research libraries, amounting to nearly $160 million in recent years – nearly $500 million for all of New York’s academic and research libraries.  Over a four-year period, these resources have grown 42 percent; the prices of some journals have risen as much as 50 percent over the past five years, at a time when most campuses are undergoing budget cuts.Due to the anticipated savings to colleges and universities – a preliminary survey of academic and research libraries demonstrates the average participant will enjoy a seven percent reduction in cost, and a ten percent increase in collection size – ARIA has garnered much support in higher education and business fields:“The importance of university research in expanding New York’s innovation economy cannot be overstated.  ARIA will bring more aggregated research to entrepreneurs, university and private sector researchers, small businesses, and other stakeholders in New York’s innovation economy.  This legislation is an important building block for the state’s future tech-based economy.” Brian McMahon, Executive Director, New York State Economic Development Council“ARIA will help academic institutions and local firms to overcome economic barriers to access and support a state-wide strategy to ensure that a major share of the health industries’ future growth occurs in New York.” Cristina A. Pope, Director, Health Sciences Library, Upstate Medical University“ARIA leverages the considerable size of New York’s public and private higher education sector to create an information infrastructure that will support research, innovation and economic growth.  ARIA would allow New York to become a national leader by making cutting edge research in support of science, technology, engineering and medicine available to the widest audience practical, while providing necessary budget relief for institutions of higher learning and lowering the cost of business for our state’s entrepreneurs.”

    Shirley Bower, Director of the Library and Manager of Digital Assets, Rochester Institute of Technology

“ARIA leverages the considerable size of New York’s public and private higher education sector to create an information infrastructure that will support research, innovation and economic growth.”

    Chandra McKenzie, Assistant Provost for Academic Affairs, Rochester Institute of Technology

 “In an era where all expenditures are looked at with a more critical eye, ARIA will increase the purchasing power of the higher education community and allow greater access to research databases for all New Yorkers.”Ted Ciambor, Director of Libraries, Monroe Community College“ARIA, by supporting research in the fields of science, technology, medicine, and business, offers to establish in New York an information infrastructure unrivaled in the nation.” Janice Kaplan, Director of the Library, The New York Academy of Medicine“NYU’s President John Sexton has said that in the 21st century New York must be one of a handful of ‘idea capitals’ in the world.  If New York State is to meet that challenge, its citizens and students must have the sources of electronic information that drive ideas in the 21st century.  ARIA will make that possible.” Dr. Michael Stoller, Director of Collections and Research Services, NYU“An ARIA-empowered New York will level the playing field for all research libraries, both public and private, giving them true bargaining power and relieving budgets that are currently stressed beyond the breaking point.” Angela Weiler, President, SUNY Librarians Association“As New York strives to build an information age economy, New York needs ARIA.”Anne Kenney, University Librarian, Cornell University“The importance of ARIA cannot be understated.  Leveraging the STEM resources of our academic libraries for the benefit of small business is an idea whose time has come.  ARIA has the potential to spur innovation and research, as well as provide economies of scale by sharing resources more broadly across the state.”

    Pamela McLaughlin, Director of Communications & External Relations, Syracuse University

“ARIA allows New York, like several other states and countries, to utilize the combined power of the public and private higher education sector to build a strong information infrastructure that will support economic development and research.  Perhaps uniquely, ARIA expands this leverage to include access for small businesses, giving them unprecedented access to information resources at greatly reduced costs.”

    Stephanie Walker, Chief Librarian & Executive Director of Academic Information Technology, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York

“Better and more accessible support for research – leading to innovation and economic stimulus, are goals of ARIA that should be achieved as ARIA helps maximize the return on investments made by libraries across NYS.” Pearl Berger, Dean of Libraries, Yeshiva University“Academic libraries are focused on successful graduates, productive faculty, and healthy communities.  The higher education libraries of New York enable through their resources, services and expertise the learning and scholarly vitality of the State, and the leadership, innovation and progress of its citizens and residents.  ARIA will enrich and extend this capacity in a cost-effective and energizing way, and position New York as a leader in the availability of quality electronic information.”

    James Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian Columbia University

“ARIA will support research and business activities throughout New York while at the same time helping libraries to contain costs.  This piece of legislation is critical to the future of New York and will put New York on a competitive footing with other states that support research and business innovation.”Bart Harloe, University Librarian, St. Lawrence University“The passage of the ARIA legislation is beneficial for academic and research libraries and small businesses across New York State.  ARIA is one piece of a comprehensive State-wide information network fostering collaboration, resource sharing and economic efficiency across New York.”

    Curtis L Kendrick, University Dean for Libraries and Information Resources, The City University of New York

 “ARIA provides a platform for maximizing the collective buying power of New York libraries to expand the information resources available to New Yorkers.   ARIA is crucial if New York State is going to thrive in an information and innovation economy.”Patrick Callahan, Director, Purchase College Library“ARIA is vital for making available high quality, readily accessible research resources for supporting state-wide innovation that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive, especially small businesses.”

    Beverley Marcoline, Assistant Vice President for Library and. Information Technology, Utica College

ARIA provides that the state pursue electronic research collections under the guidance of a volunteer advisory board representative of the academic and research library community.  This board will manage dealings with the publishers.  Upon agreement, the state will act as an aggregator of library funds – voluntarily offered – and serve as the single contract holder.  The participating institutions will gain needed budget relief through the collective buying power of all participating partners.  In turn, the state will stipulate that contracts for the information resources provide access to qualified emerging technology companies, thus lowering their cost of doing business. The beneficiaries of these information resources will operate primarily in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  Access to ARIA resources will be available to all participating researchers, scholars, faculty and students at member and associated institutions of the New York State Higher Education Initiative, as well as other participating institutions registered by the State Education Department Office of College and University Evaluation (OCUE).  Access to ARIA resources will also be available to researchers, entrepreneurs, other innovators existing in business incubators aligned with the State Higher Education Initiative member and associated institutions, as well as available to recipients of grants through the State Department of Economic Development and the Empire State Development Corporation. Other beneficiaries include businesses with fifty or fewer employees, which otherwise meet the definition of a qualified merging technology company, as defined by paragraph (c) of subdivision one of section thirty-one hundred two-e of the public authorities law. ARIA was among the recommendations of the Governor’s Commission on Higher Education in its 2008 Final Report.  The direction and focus of ARIA is reflected in the final reports of the Governor’s 2009 Task Force on Diversifying the New York State Economy, the 2009 report, “Building New York City’s Innovation Economy” by the Center for an Urban Future, the 2007 A.T. Kearney report commissioned by Empire State Development, and the 2007 “Investing in Innovation” report by the National Governor’s Association and the Pew Foundation Center on the States, among others.