The Biodiversity Heritage Library acknowledges the existence of harmful content in many biodiversity science publications and original materials included in its collection. We are reckoning with the, at times, painful heritage of our collection and seeking to address its impact on science and culture today. As a curated digital collection aggregating content from hundreds of providers into a single platform, BHL is a reflection of the historical collection development decisions of those providers as well as the publishing practices and historical colonial processes that have shaped the scholarly record of biodiversity science. Scientific understanding evolves over time, through critical analysis of new information and scrutiny of its mistakes. We recognize that as a free and open access digital library, we simultaneously increase and promote access to materials, some of which espouse deep prejudices that are counterproductive to the advancement of scientific knowledge and overshadow the contributions of marginalized peoples across the globe. At best these views are outdated; at worst, the legacy of natural sciences is unjust and inhumane. The harmful content in BHL’s collection goes against the values of the Biodiversity Heritage Library. It is provided for access as part of the historical record.
Adopted September 2021