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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 barrier-free sharing of research and educational materials to enable an open and equitable global ecosystem for scholarship – democratizing knowledge sharing, accelerating discovery, and increasing societal and economic returns.

SPARC is a catalyst for action. Our pragmatic agenda focuses on encouraging new norms, practices, and policies that promote open and equitable access to and participation in research and education. We are committed to designing equity and inclusion into the foundation of the initiatives we lead and the communities we cultivate, and to advocate for these core values in all of the spaces where SPARC is active.



To promote changes in both scholarly infrastructure and culture, SPARC focuses on:

  1. Advocating for policies that enable Open practices throughout research and education.
  2. Educating stakeholders on opportunities to retain and regain control of scholarship in order to serve the public interest.
  3. Incubating projects that promote new models for research and education that directly support the needs of scholars and society.

Supported by 24O+ members in the U.S. and Canada and a strong network of international affiliates, SPARC promotes collective action based on shared values with key stakeholders, from faculty and administrators to research funders and the public. To create an open and equitable ecosystem for this and future generations, SPARC places a premium on empowering students and early career professionals.



SPARC will concentrate our activities in the following areas:

Driving Policy Change

SPARC will continue its leadership role in advancing policies that enable an open and equitable global ecosystem for scholarship. SPARC’s work will include:

  • Educating key policymakers (including U.S. Congress, U.S. Executive Branch, Canadian Administration, state and provincial governments, as well as global public and private funders) on SPARC’s policy priorities.
  • Deploying proactive campaigns to expand policy progress in the U.S. and Canada, as well as defending against threats to existing policies.
  • Advocating for Executive Branch update of 2013 OSTP Memorandum on Public Access to Publicly Funded Research to reflect emerging global norms: zero embargoes, full reuse rights, adoption of FAIR data principles, harmonization of article and data sharing requirements, inclusion of code, software, algorithms, etc.
  • Clearly communicating the potential social equity impacts of proposed policies, particularly APC-based models.
  • Advocating for state and federal policies that incentivize the adoption of Open Educational Resources, including continued funds for federal Open Textbook Pilot.
  • Promoting full implementation of the OPEN Government Data Act through the National Federal Data Strategy.
  • Leveraging leadership of and participation in coalitions and communities (the Open Access Working Group, Data Coalition, OpenCon, Alliance for Taxpayer Access, etc.) to speed policy progress.
  • Working with the media to promote public awareness of benefits of Open policies.

Enabling Community Controlled Infrastructure

SPARC will promote initiatives that enable the academic community to retain and regain control of crucial infrastructure—and attendant data—underpinning the open scholarly ecosystem. SPARC’s work will include:

  • Deploying a comprehensive campaign to “lock the market open for competition,” including dissemination of comprehensive, expert market analysis of the current status of infrastructure across the higher education sector, and the implications for libraries/academic institutions and proposed strategic responses.
  • Strengthening the community’s ability to secure long-term control of infrastructure by developing values-based contracting terms for collective use.
  • Retaining expert financial and legal counsel to ensure that strategic responses are viable, sustainable, and are designed to scale effectively.
  • Leading research/development efforts on economic and organizational models for the collective provisioning of community-controlled infrastructure, including support for targeted new investment instruments.
  • Actively collaborating with existing community efforts to accelerate progress towards an open/community-owned ecosystem.
  • Advocating for policies that empower institutions to retain control over their research and education infrastructure, including content and data.

Catalyzing the Realignment of Research Incentives

SPARC will promote the realignment of existing reward and incentive structures to advance an open scholarly ecosystem. SPARC’s work will include:

  • Continue to organize the joint Open Research Funders Group/U.S. National Academies of Science Roundtable on Realigning Research Incentives, equipping funders and higher education leaders to actively promote practices and policies to reward the open, equitable sharing of research outputs and educational resources.
  • Preparing and supporting the ORFG member funders to serve as champions and peer-influencers to promote incentive realignment.
  • Supporting National Academies Roundtable Working on encouraging department- level development of proposed rewards/recognition for Open practices to be included in evaluation and promotion guidelines.
  • Supporting research into current evaluation, reward, and incentive structures, and promoting exemplars that have made demonstrable progress towards realigning research incentives and rewards.
  • Increasing opportunities for early career professionals to participate in shaping rewards and incentive system through deeper integration of OpenCon community with SPARC community.

Supporting Direct Library Actions

SPARC will support and enhance our members’ ability to take timely and informed actions. SPARC’s work will include:

  • Expanding our Community of Practice to provide comprehensive data, resources, and support for libraries considering ‘Big Deal’ cancellations to improve libraries’ negotiating position with vendors.
  • Retaining high-level financial and legal expertise to better inform library negotiations and decision-making processes.
  • Identifying and promoting specific opportunities for libraries to move out of ‘Big Deal’ subscription packages and reinvest in support of an open, equitable ecosystem for scholarship.
  • Providing professional development opportunities to empower people as catalysts for advancing Open, including the SPARC Open Education Leadership Program.
  • Partnering with funders and scholarly societies to explore shifts in business models.
  • Developing and implementing a new, comprehensive code of conduct for use
    throughout the SPARC community.
  • Providing 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 campus advocacy and education


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