2018 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 the 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 Education. 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 make progress toward achieving our mission, SPARC will focus on:

Advocating for Community Controlled Infrastructure
SPARC will promote initiatives and partnerships that leverage resources to sustain crucial infrastructure underpinning the scholarly communications ecosystem. SPARC’s work to advance this priority will include:

  • Scoping a comprehensive, expert market analysis of the current commercial players in infrastructure across the higher education sector, including a mapping of key areas of vulnerability to this infrastructure (including but not limited to, scholarly communications infrastructure) as well as the identification of specific points of potential community leverage.
  • Accelerating work on creating new models of repositories that leverage the networked digital environment to reassert control of academic output through expanded partnership with COAR and other key organizations.
  • Strengthening the library community’s negotiating position to secure long-term control of infrastructure by developing a set of proposed values-based operating principles and corresponding contracting terms that can be collectively deployed.
  • Leading research and development efforts on new economic and organizational models for the collective provisioning of Open resources and infrastructure, including support for targeted new investment instruments, and actively collaborating with community efforts to accelerate progress.

Conducting Policy Advocacy & Education
SPARC will continue advancing policies that promote Open Access to research outputs (including articles and data) and educational materials at the institutional, state/provincial, national, and international level. SPARC’s work on this priority will include:

  • Educating key policymakers (including the U.S. Executive Branch/Administration, 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 in the U.S., Canada, and globally.
  • Leveraging the Alliance for Taxpayer Access and Right to Research Coalition 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 in the U.S, Canada, and globally.

Promoting Culture Change through Realigning Incentives
To further advance the progress made in the policy area, 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 further this priority will include:

  • Leveraging the leadership of research funders (starting with members of the Open Research Funders Group) and higher education leaders at the University President/Provost level to serve as champions and peer-influencers to promote incentive realignment.
  • Promoting a convening of these leaders/stakeholders for peer-to-peer discussion and development of strategies to promote adoption of practices and policies rewarding open sharing of research outputs and educational resources.
  • Encouraging rewards/recognition for Open behaviors be included in evaluation and promotion guidelines.
  • Promoting exemplars that have made demonstrable progress towards realigning rewards.
  • Supporting research into current evaluation, reward, and incentive structures.
  • Presenting webcasts/public programming to increase awareness of critical research culture issues.
  • Leveraging the OpenCon community to promote culture change within the next generation.

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.
  • Providing professional development opportunities for library professionals to advance Open issues, including the SPARC Open Education Leadership program.
  • Delivering tools and resources to support campus advocacy and education activities (e.g., HowOpenIsIt?, the SPARC Author Addendum, Connect OER, and SPARC research sharing policy resource).
  • Providing support and resources to member libraries who are considering migration from bepress platform.
  • 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 global open community.

Learn more about our work