Photo of Heather Joseph

Heather Joseph

Executive Director

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Heather Joseph, Executive Director

Since her appointment as SPARC’s Executive Director in 2005, Heather has focused the organization’s efforts on supporting the open and equitable sharing of digital articles, data, and educational resources. Under her stewardship, SPARC has become widely recognized as the leading international force for effective open access policies and practices. Among her many achievements, she convened the Alliance for Taxpayer Access and the Open Access Working Group, which provided critical advocacy for the establishment of the landmark 2008 NIH Public Access Policy and the 2013 White House Memorandum on Public Access to Federally Funded Research. 

Heather regularly participates in committees and collaborates on projects with U.S. federal agencies, ranging from the NIH National Advisory Committee on PubMed Central, to the NIST Steering Committee to establish a Research Data Framework.   In 2015, she was appointed to the newly-formed Commerce Data Advisory Council and tasked with providing input to the Secretary of Commerce on issues surrounding open data, and in 2019, she spearheaded the establishment of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s Roundtable an Aligning Incentives to Support Open Science. Internationally, Heather has worked on initiatives and consultations to promote the open sharing of research outputs at the United Nations, The World Bank, UNESCO, and World Health Organization. Through SPARC’s global network of affiliates in Europe, Asia and Africa, she is an active collaborator on projects that support community developed and controlled solutions for knowledge sharing. 

She is particularly committed to promoting leadership opportunities for students and early career professionals.  Through the establishment of SPARC’s global OpenCon initiative and its student Right to Research Coalition, she has created opportunities for students and young leaders worldwide to actively advocate for the open sharing of research outputs and educational materials.  Her community service includes terms on the Board of Directors of non-profit organizations that support the open sharing of knowledge, including PLOS, Public Resource, DuraSpace, EIFL, the Center for Open Science, and OurResearch, as well as extensive volunteer advisory support for new and developing open initiatives.    

Prior to joining SPARC, Heather spent 15 years as a publishing executive in both commercial and not-for-profit organizations. She was the publisher at the Director of Publishing for the American Society for Cell Biology, where she managed the growth of Molecular Biology of the Cell, the first journal to commit its full content to the NIH’s pioneering open access repository, PubMed Central.  She is also the founding President and COO of BioOne, a collaborative publishing organization designed to keep non-profit publishers operating independently. She is a frequent speaker and writer on issues relating to knowledge sharing, and on open access in particular. 

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