Written Evidence Submitted by the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC)
The International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC) is a Learned Society and independent international professional institute. We bring together conservators and cultural heritage professionals including academics, from around the world, educating, enabling and recognising excellence – this commitment drives everything we do. Our objectives are to advance knowledge, and to continually improve professional research, practice and standards, enhancing the preservation and conservation of historic and artistic works. We do this by:
• Promoting the study of conservation practice; and
• Encouraging education, study and research in the field of conservation and related branches of heritage science.
We achieve these objectives through our publications, through events ranging from our major Congress to our professional development programme, and through our international awards and prizes, which promote professional excellence. These also raise awareness of how the achievements of conservation professionals serve a wider common good. Together with our 8 regional groups, we have over 7000 members and engaged supporters internationally. Our journal, Studies in Conservation, is the leading publication internationally capturing developments in the field, with over 120,000 downloads per year.
We hope that our input, albeit very brief and limited to our field, will still be useful to the Committee. Please do get in touch if we can be of any further assistance in finding practical solutions to the challenges and issues presented.
As a learned society, we are uniquely positioned as a producer, publisher, and funder of research. Ultimately, learned societies have a unique role to play in fostering co-operation, trust and a culture for knowledge sharing, which helps to promote integrity and reproducibility of research.
We recognise there are several barriers to reproducibility, including concerns over IP and pressure on researchers to publish novel research quickly. Added to this, far too much knowledge is fragmented and inaccessible - potentially held in a range of institutions, not just universities, across the world. Many of these barriers can be overcome by thinking carefully about data access, management as well as reposition, and by establishing guidelines and standards that promote equitable access to knowledge and research.
We commend to the Committee a project funded by UKRI-AHRC and supported by IIC, Linked Conservation Data, which looks at developing guidelines and improving access to data and documentation records in conservation, so that data can be disseminated and re-used more effectively for the common good.