2017 SPARC Program Plan

SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) is a global coalition committed to making Open the default for research and education. SPARC promotes the faster and wider sharing of research outputs and educational materials to increase the impact of research, fuel the advancement of knowledge, and increase the return on research and education investments. SPARC staunchly supports efforts to promote diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice in and through the library community.

SPARC is a catalyst for action. Supported by 200+ members in the U.S. and Canada, and with international affiliates active in Africa, Europe and Japan, our pragmatic agenda focuses on collaborating with stakeholders in the global community to encourage new norms, practices, and policies that promote equitable access, sharing, and use of scholarship.

To promote the changes in both infrastructure and culture needed to make Open the default in research and education, SPARC’s strategy centers on:

  1. Advocating for policies that enable Open practices throughout research and education.
  2. Educating stakeholders on opportunities to change the scholarly communication system.
  3. Incubating projects that promote new models for sharing research outputs and developing educational materials that support the needs of scholars and society.

SPARC works to identify shared values and opportunities for action between our library members and stakeholders in the global research and education environment, including faculty and administration, public and private research funders and the public. SPARC places a particular premium on empowering students and early career professionals, and actively incorporates collaboration with them across all program areas.

Our leadership work will be concentrated in three program areas: Open Access, Open Data, and Open Educational Resources. Additionally, to maximize progress, SPARC will support efforts that champion intellectual freedom, a free and open Internet, privacy, confidentiality, and equitable copyright and intellectual property policies. To advance progress across our three primary program areas, SPARC will focus on:

Conducting Policy Advocacy
SPARC’s top priority will be to advance policies that promote Open Access to research outputs (including articles and data) and educational materials at the institutional, state, national, and international level. SPARC’s work to advance this priority will include:

  • Conducting a systematic mapping exercise to identify key positions within the government that influence our core policy priorities.
  • Engaging a top DC-based strategy/lobbying firm to provide access and insight into the new Administration and Congress.
  • Educating key policymakers (including new U.S. Presidential Administration, U.S. Congress, Canadian Administration, Canadian Parliament, and others) on SPARC’s core policy priorities.
  • Developing strategies to defend against threats to existing policies, as well as proactive strategies to extend/expand policy progress (legislative and regulatory).
  • Convening targeted coalitions (such as the Alliance for Taxpayer Access) that leverage relationships across stakeholder communities to accelerate policy progress.
  • Working with the media to promote public awareness of the benefits of Open policies.
  • Working with public and private funders to create and implement Open policies.

Promoting Culture Change
SPARC will promote the realignment of existing reward and incentive structures to advance Open as the default in research and education. SPARC’s work to advance this priority will include:

  • Supporting research into current evaluation, reward and incentive structures, and the development of new “best practices.”
  • Identifying leaders on campuses and in funding institutions willing to champion the realignment of incentives/rewards.
  • Convening leaders/stakeholders for peer-to-peer discussion of strategies to promote adoption of practices/policies rewarding open sharing of research outputs and educational resources.
  • Promoting the inclusion of Open behaviors in evaluation and promotion guidelines.
  • Promoting exemplars that have made demonstrable progress towards realigning rewards.
  • Presenting webcasts/public programming to increase awareness of critical research culture issues.
  • Leveraging the R2RC and OpenCon to create culture change at scale within the next generation.

Supporting Infrastructure and Partnerships
SPARC promote partnerships that leverage resources to sustain crucial infrastructure supporting Open Access, Open Data, and OER. SPARC’s work to advance this priority will include:

  • Convening the Open Research Funders Group, a set of major research funders committed to collective action and investment in Open Access and Open Data.
  • Contributing to R&D on economic and organizational models for the collective support of Open resources and infrastructure.
  • Providing expert consulting services to explore and support strategies for transitioning subscription-based initiatives to open access models
  • Leading national multi-stakeholder working groups on Open Access, OER, and Open Data.
  • Representing the SPARC member community on Committees, Working Groups, Advisory Groups, and Councils at the national and international level.
  • Supporting OpenCon, a community and conference series that develops leaders in the student and early career academic professional communities as global champions for Open issues.

Providing Resources to Support Campus Action
SPARC will produce and promote resources that enable our members to take timely and informed actions. SPARC’s work to advance this priority will include:

  • Providing our members up-to-the-moment updates and analyses of key policy and scholarly communications-related trends and developments.
  • Issuing action alerts and other opportunities for timely member library participation in advocacy, education, and partnership initiatives.
  • Delivering tools and resources to support member campus advocacy and education activities (e.g., HowOpenIsIt?, the SPARC Author Addendum, and SPARC research sharing policy resource).
  • Providing resources to support the understanding of and implementation of Open policy requirements.
  • Providing free member campus visits by the SPARC team to promote awareness, education, and advocacy for key program areas.
  • Convening International Open Access Week as a catalyst for action across the community.

Learn more about our work