Everything SPARC does as a membership organization is designed to support our library members and their ability to deal with the most pressing challenges they face in the areas where we have the most expertise. As this COVID-19 crisis has unfolded, the entire SPARC team has been reaching out to our members, listening to what each library is facing, and working together to build a deeper understanding of our new collective operating reality. We’re using what we’re hearing to target the places where SPARC is uniquely positioned to help. For more on SPARC’s work related to the pandemic, see our blog post here.
COVID-Related SPARC Program Priorities
Because SPARC is designed to be agile, we’re able to review programming priorities and shift supporting resources quickly to best serve our members. Fortunately, the priority areas that we identified earlier this year track closely with what we are hearing from our members as key needs, including:
- Leading advocacy efforts for a U.S. open access policy
Our policy team is providing critical advocacy leadership to secure an Executive Order to create a national policy making “open and machine-readable” the default for all federally funded research articles, data and code. We’ve also submitted comments to the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions recommending open access be an important part of our preparedness for future pandemics.
- Securing increased federal funding for OER
SPARC is leading efforts to increase crucial Congressional funding to go directly to institutions to support increased creation and use of open textbooks.
- Equipping our members to recalibrate their relationship with publishers, through negotiations or cancellations
As budget issues loom ever larger in light of COVID-19, we’ll continue to provide our members with resources to help our member libraries save money and secure better deals in negotiations with publishers.
- Educating higher education leaders on retaining control of research and education infrastructure and data
As institutions grapple with pressing decisions about online platforms for research, teaching and learning, SPARC provides important competitive analyses and recommendations for concrete actions that colleges and universities can take to retain control of critical infrastructure and data.
- Encouraging competition and guarding against antitrust infringement
We recognize that a competitive academic publishing marketplace is vital for both controlling costs and growing open content. SPARC proactively works with regulators and legislators to educate them on issues in the scholarly publishing market and to initiate interventions where necessary.
- Empowering advocates through online professional development
As the need for virtual training grows, SPARC’s Open Education Leadership program offers intensive online professional development for open advocates. Additionally, we are leveraging the openly licensed curriculum for additional training that members can bring to campus.
- Providing high-level financial market analysis and intelligence
To support our members’ ability to effectively manage increasingly tight resource budgets, SPARC provides financial analyses of key commercial publishers operations, and timely insights into their significance for our member libraries.
SPARC Resources to Support Members in Their Response to COVID-19
SPARC will continue to actively support our members as they adjust to new operating realities in response to COVID-19. As new materials are developed in the coming weeks, we will list them here for easy reference.
- SPARC Language for Responding to Publisher Offers Related to COVID-19: This short response template provides language for libraries to ask publishers for details about duration of access, authentication, and price transparency.
- SPARC Negotiation Community of Practice: If you would like to join our SPARC Negotiation Community of Practice, please contact Caitlin Carter at [email protected]. We will keep the wider SPARC membership informed about our negotiation work that intersects with COVID-19. Joining the community of practice is an opportunity to get more involved in these conversations, ask the questions you find are most pressing, and contribute your experience to support other institutions.
Suggestions for SPARC COVID-19 Support
If you have suggestions for types of support that you would find helpful as your institution navigates the impact from COVID-19, we would appreciate your feedback via email to [email protected].