Position Opening: Visiting Program Officer for the U.S. Repository Network

Position Description

SPARC and COAR have a shared vision of creating a global open knowledge sharing system that centers diversity, equity, and inclusion, and we believe repositories will play a central role in achieving this vision

We are at a critical moment for the open movement. Policy makers have largely embraced the values underlying open access and open science and are adopting and strengthening their policies. However, the path towards open scholarship and what infrastructures will be prioritized remains to be seen. University repositories play an important role in enabling open scholarship, and, critically, they support diversity, equity and inclusion in scholarly communications by offering a sustainable option for researchers to make their research outputs available to the world. A strong global repository network has the potential to transform the scholarly communication system, from one predominantly controlled by the commercial sector, to one which is managed and governed by the scholarly community. To that end, we have worked together to establish the U.S. Repository Network (USRN). 

We are currently seeking a Visiting Program Officer (VPO) to help consolidate and advance the network of repositories in the United States. The aim is to ensure that university repositories have a voice at the table with other stakeholder communities, adopt interoperable good practices, and are innovative. 

In direct consultation with Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC and Kathleen Shearer, Executive Director of COAR and interfacing with the SPARC membership, the Visiting Program Officer will work to catalyze the U.S. repository community through the following activities:

  • Play a leadership role in advancing a USRN strategy in the United States, with input from the USRN Steering Committee
  • Represent the perspective of repositories with other stakeholder communities, offering a strong voice and vision for repositories on behalf of the university repository community (building the network) 
  • Increase awareness about trends and new developments for repositories in the US 
  • Foster strong connection with other international repository networks and facilitate collaboration where appropriate.
  • Raise awareness with U.S policy makers about the role that repositories play in policy implementation, and their readiness to do so.  
  • Explore how those responsible for managing repositories can be better supported and connected by creating strategies to build structures that can provide this support
  • Assist with preparing grant applications to elicit funding for the USRN

Outcomes / Goals

  • Develop a concrete strategy and plan to increase the visibility and value of repositories in the US
  • Application of funding proposal for USRN
  • Increased support and enthusiasm for university repositories among U.S. library leaders in the related to greater awareness of their innovations and new functionalities
  • Establishment an information resource for policy makers in US to engage with the US university repository community
  • Creation of promotional material that demonstrates that repositories are viable options for policy compliance
  • A more cohesive vision and approach to repositories in the US

Candidate Profile

VPO candidates are generally library professionals currently employed at an institution that agrees to dedicate .25 FTE of the VPO’s time to SPARC work, while continuing to support the VPO’s full salary and benefits. The ideal VPO candidate has the following qualifications:

  • Passionate and effective advocate for repositories
  • Self-motivated
  • Respected thought leader and strategic thinker
  • Community builder with excellent communication and group facilitation skills
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion

How to Apply

Interested institutions should have their VPO candidate complete the online application, which involves submitting a CV/resume and responses to short answer questions. Candidates should also be prepared to state whether their library/institution is likely to support their participation in the role. Applications will be reviewed until April 30, 2024. 

More Information

About SPARC’s VPO Program

SPARC’s Visiting Program Officer program provides opportunities for library professionals to contribute to special projects and programs in order to advance SPARC’s work on key issues. The program provides a valuable professional development opportunity to gain experience working at a national level alongside SPARC’s experienced team. SPARC’s VPO program also serves our membership as a whole by extending our capacity to undertake additional activities and by embedding perspectives from the SPARC community in our day-to-day work.

Under the VPO program, the expectation is that the candidate’s library continues to support the salary and benefits of their staff person designated as a VPO while dedicating .25 FTE of the VPO’s time to SPARC projects as an in-kind donation. SPARC will provide funding for any relevant travel or other VPO project-related expenses. SPARC is seeking a 1 year commitment at .25 FTE for each of the posted positions. This initial term may be extended upon mutual agreement between SPARC and the candidate’s library. 

Candidates do not need to be based at a SPARC member institution in order to be considered. Furthermore, institutions who are not in a financial position to donate their employee’s time are welcome to contact us for more information. Please note that a VPO agreement is between SPARC and the candidate’s institution, not an individual.


SPARC is a non-profit advocacy organization that supports systems for research and education that are open by default and equitable by design. We believe everyone should be able to access and contribute to the knowledge that shapes our world. As a catalyst for action, our pragmatic agenda focuses on driving policy change, supporting member action, and cultivating communities that advance our vision of knowledge as a public good. From the local to the global level, SPARC works to address the ways in which our knowledge systems exclude people due to racism, colonialism, and other legacies of injustice.  

Learn more about our work