Data Security and IRB
Because this is a web-based survey, respondents consent to participate by electing to fill out the survey questionnaire. Participating institutions are responsible for providing an explanation of the survey and information pertaining to its confidentiality.
Data Security and Confidentiality
The LibQUAL approach to confidentiality is guided by the ethical standards of the American Psychological Association (see http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx).
LibQUAL is ineligible for Safe Harbor certification, which is limited to organizations subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission or US air carriers and ticket agents subject to the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation. However, LibQUAL+ has practices in place that comply with Safe Harbor’s principles.
LibQUAL Survey Data under the GDPR
The LibQUAL survey is anonymous. The survey collects information on users' perceptions of library service quality. Because this is a web-based survey, respondents consent to participate by electing to fill out the survey questionnaire. Participating institutions are responsible for providing an explanation of the survey and information pertaining to its confidentiality.
Survey data is stored on secure servers located at a private hosting facility. Access to the data is limited to ARL staff and authorized staff of the participating institution. Data is stored indefinitely, with the exception of email and IP addresses.
Email addresses are an optional question on the survey. ARL's policy and practice is to purge incentive emails from the database 6 months after the close of each survey session (December for institutions running a survey in the spring of the same year, and June for institutions running in the fall of the previous year).
The survey captures respondents’ public IP address. IP addresses are purged from the database on the same schedule as the email addresses.
Institutions may choose to include demographic questions on their survey. Demographic items include: age question (response options: Under 18, 18–22, 23–30, 31–45, 46–65, and Over 65); sex question (response options: Male, Female); and full-time/part-time question (response options: Full-time student, Part-time student, Does not apply/NA). Including these demographic questions on the survey is optional.
The Association of Research Libraries recognizes the vital role of their respondent's information. Primary data gathered by ARL from human subjects is kept strictly confidential and used for statistical purposes only. Published statistics are released in a way that is designed to prevent identification of individuals.
Obtaining IRB Approval
It is important to contact your Institutional Review Board (IRB, also known as the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects, or the Committee for Human Subjects Research, or the Office of Sponsored Programs) to determine if prior approval is needed to conduct the LibQUAL+ survey at your institution. Be sure to inform your IRB that results of the survey will be shared among participating institutions and provide them with information about any incentives that you may offer to survey respondents. IRB approval is handled entirely at the local level. LibQUAL+ does not need to be informed about your local policy requirements and does not require proof of your institution’s IRB status.
Your IRB committee may meet infrequently throughout the year, so this step should be initiated well in advance of your projected survey launch date.
ARL’s Policy for Protecting Human Subjects is available at https://www.libqual.org/resources/human_subjects.
Below is an example of an IRB approval request. If you have an IRB form you would like to share for the benefit of the community, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.