Coalition Partners

Open Access Working Group

The Open Access Working Group (OAWG), initiated by SPARC, is a group of like-minded organizations that began meeting in the Fall of 2003 to build a framework for collective advocacy of open access to research. The group seeks to build broad-based recognition that the economic and societal benefits of scientific and scholarly research investments are maximized through open access to the results of that research. OAWG aims to bring about changes within stakeholder institutions enabling viable open access models to be widely and successfully implemented and accepted.


1. Build recognition of the benefits of open access (as articulated by the Budapest Open Access Initiative) among:

  • patient advocacy organizations and beneficiaries of research investments among the general public,
  • research funders,
  • federal policy makers, and
  • scholars, scientists, and lawyers.

2. Encourage research funding agencies to adopt policies that advance open access.

3. Gain active support by academic institutions for open access through:

  • allocation of funds to support open access,
  • encouragement of federal policy changes, and
  • development of favorable institutional intellectual property and academic promotion and tenure policies.


The OAWG undertakes collective action in levels of society and physical regions where the interests of its participating organizations are aligned, and where its collective voice will achieve greater persuasive force than the individual voice of any single member. As a loosely affiliated working group, not all organizations sign on to all OAWG actions, based on their organization’s focus, bylaws, or the needs of their members. Action is taken by subsets of the entire participant roster when appropriate.

Recent Actions Include:

Participating Organizations

American Association of Law Libraries
With over 5,000 members, the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) represents law librarians and related professionals who are affiliated with and serve the nearly one million men and women working in the range of U.S. legal institutions: law firms; law schools; corporate legal departments; courts; and local, state and federal government agencies. The association was founded in 1906 to promote and enhance the value of law libraries to the legal and public communities, to foster the profession of law librarianship, and to provide leadership in the field of legal information.

American Library Association
The American Library Association (ALA) is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 65,000 members. Its mission is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries
The Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) is composed of the directors of libraries of 142 accredited U. S. and Canadian medical schools belonging to or affiliated with the Association of American Medical Colleges. AAHSL’s goals are to promote excellence in academic health science libraries and to ensure that the next generation of health practitioners is trained in information seeking skills that enhance the quality of health care delivery, education, and research. The Association influences legislation and policies beneficial to the common good of academic health sciences centers and their libraries, including opportunities related to open access and new models of scholarly communication.

Association of College & Research Libraries
The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association, represents more than 12,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals. ACRL is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to meet the unique needs of academic and research librarians. Its initiatives enable the higher education community to understand the role that academic and research libraries play in the teaching, learning and research environments.

Association of Research Libraries
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is an association of over 120 of the largest research libraries in North America. The member institutions serve over 160,000 faculty researchers and scholars and more than 4 million students in the U.S. and Canada. ARLĂ•s mission is to shape and influence forces affecting the future of research libraries in the process of scholarly communication. ARL programs and services promote equitable access to and effective use of recorded knowledge in support of teaching, research, scholarship, and community service.

Association of Southeastern Research Libraries
Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) is the largest regional research library consortium in the United States. By working together, ASERL members continue to provide and maintain top quality resources and services for the students, faculty, and citizens of their respective communities.

Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions
Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI) brings together representatives from North American universities with established faculty open access policies and those in the process of developing such policies. It was formed to share information and experiences and to illuminate opportunities for moving faculty-led open access forward at member institutions and advocating for open access nationally and internationally.

The Confederation of Open Access Repositories
The Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) is an international association that brings together individual repositories and repository networks in order to build capacity, align policies and practices, and act as a global voice for the repository community.

Creative Commons
Creative Commons is the collaborative effort of practitioners and theorists of law and technology to help bridge the world of copyright and the public domain. Creative Commons is housed at the Stanford Law School, where we share space, staff, and inspiration with the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society.

Electronic Frontier Foundation
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is the leading nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development. We work to ensure that rights and freedoms are enhanced and protected as our use of technology grows.

Greater Western Library Alliance
The Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA) is a consortium of 31 research libraries in 16 states in the greater Midwest and Western U.S. GWLA members share common interests in scholarly communication, resource sharing and staff development projects. GWLA was a founding member of BioOne, an electronic scholarly publishing initiative launched in 2001.

Health Research Alliance
The Health Research Alliance is a collaborative member organization of nonprofit research funders committed to maximizing the impact of biomedical research to improve human health.

Open Society Foundations
The Open Society Foundations (OSF) is a private operating and grantmaking foundation, founded and chaired by George Soros, that serves as the hub of the Soros foundations network, a group of autonomous foundations and organizations in more than 50 countries. OSI and the network implement a range of initiatives that aim to promote open societies by shaping government policy and supporting education, media, public health, and human and women’s rights, as well as social, legal, and economic reform.

PeerJ is an open access, peer-reviewed, scholarly journal. It considers and publishes research articles in the biological, medical and environmental sciences.

Public Knowledge
Public Knowledge is a public interest advocacy and education organization that seeks to promote a balanced approach to intellectual property law and technology policy that reflects the “cultural bargain” intended by the framers of the U.S. constitution.

Public Library of Science
The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a nonprofit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world’s scientific and medical literature a public resource. PLoS has launched a nonprofit scientific publishing venture that will provide scientists with high-quality, peer-reviewed, high-profile journals in which to publish their most important work, while making the full contents freely available for anyone to read, distribute, or use for their own research.

Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition
SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resource Coalition, is an international alliance of academic and research libraries and organizations working to correct market dysfunctions in the scholarly publishing system. Developed by ARL, SPARC has over 200 member institutions and affiliates in North America and closely collaborates with SPARC Europe, which represents more than 70 additional institutions in Europe. SPARC’s strategies and activities support open access and capitalize on the networked environment to disseminate research more broadly.

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