Today, SPARC is pleased to release the 2021 Update to the SPARC Landscape Analysis and Roadmap for Action. Building on SPARC’s previous analysis, the 2021 update reviews the impact of the past year on the broader research and education markets and on key individual firms within these markets.
The report describes the latest developments in what are now well-established concerns—rising market concentration, increased bundling, further divergence in the interests of academic institutions and the vendors that claim to serve them—and tracks emerging concerns that have grown over the past year. These newer trends include increased lobbying to protect “inclusive access” practices that limit student choices and the widening use of monitoring technologies with little transparency and broader participation in surveillance activities that raise serious concerns for academic freedom and the safety of individuals.
A number of positive developments also emerged: a large textbook publisher merger failed; new large-scale initiatives were launched, including Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI), thus strengthening a global effort to build community-owned infrastructure; and some significant legislative and regulatory progress was made.
The 2021 Update contains additional recommendations that supplement those first published in the SPARC 2019 Roadmap for Action. These recommendations include introducing organizational changes within academic institutions to better manage strategic and ethical challenges, and deploying tools and data to better understand the needs of the individuals and communities.
The developments over the past year, positive and negative, underscore the urgency for the academic community to take control of its own content and infrastructure in order to best serve both its own interests and to protect and further its values of equity, inclusiveness, and protection of academic freedom.
The update was compiled by Claudio Aspesi, market expert and lead author, along with SPARC’s Nicole Allen, Raym Crow, Valorie Hollister, Heather Joseph, Joseph McArthur, Nick Shockey, and Katie Steen.
In two upcoming briefings for SPARC members, Claudio Aspesi will summarize the key points of the 2021 Update and discuss its implications with participants. The first briefing will focus on the research portion of the 2021 Update and will be held on Wednesday, September 29th, at 2pm ET / 11am PT [register here]. The second, education-focused briefing will be held a week later on Wednesday, October 6th, at 2pm ET / 11am PT [register here].