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Position Opening

Visiting Program Officer for U.S. Repository Network

This role is not offered as employment with SPARC. It is an in-kind donation of .25 FTE by an institution.

COAR and SPARC 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. 

SPARC, a project of the New Venture Fund, is 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 Kathleen Shearer, Executive Director of the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) and Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC, and interfacing with the SPARC membership, the Visiting Program Officer will work to catalyze the U.S. repository community through the following activities:

  • Convene a high-level expert group of both Library Deans/Directors and IR managers from academic institutions committed to empowering the role of repositories to develop a strategic vision for repositories in the United States
  • Using SPARC channels, increase awareness about innovations for repositories (such as those articulated in the COAR Next Generation Repositories Initiative, the Pubfair model and the COAR Notify Project)
  • 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) 
  • Foster strong connection with Canadian Open Repositories Working Group and facilitate collaboration where appropriate.
  • Raise awareness with U.S policy makers about the role that repositories can 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


Outcomes / Goals 

  • Increased support and enthusiasm for university repositories among U.S. library leaders in the related to greater awareness of their innovations and new functionalities
  • Establishing an information resource for policy makers in US to engage with the US university repository community
  • Creating promotional material that demonstrates that repositories are viable options for policy compliance
  • Fostering a more cohesive vision and approach to repositories in the US


Candidate Profile

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


To Apply

SPARC is looking for a one year commitment from a member library at .25 FTE to start as soon as possible. Under SPARC’s Visiting Program Officer program, the expectation is that the candidate’s library supports the salary and benefits of the staff person designated as a VPO, and SPARC provides funding for the VPO’s travel and other project-related expenses. This initial term may be extended upon mutual agreement between SPARC and the candidate’s library. The VPO program provides opportunities for library professionals to contribute to special projects and programs, either in whole or in part, in order to advance the agenda of the organization. The program provides highly visible professional development opportunities for outstanding library professionals and serves the SPARC membership as a whole by extending SPARC’s capacity to undertake additional activities.

Candidates do not need to be based at a SPARC member institution in order to be considered. In addition, if an institution requires some financial support in order to allow their candidate to take on the VPO position, they should contact us.

Interested institutions should have their candidate complete the online application (may not work with Firefox), including a statement of interest (up to 500 words) and a CV or resume. If there are any questions about the role, please contact Val Hollister at [email protected]. Applications will be reviewed until July 28, 2021.

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