SPARC Roadmap for Action
“Data and data analytics are spreading fast at higher education institutions, and the academic community is at a critical juncture. The growing trend of publisher acquisition of critical infrastructure has underscored a pressing need to understand the changing landscape and develop actions that institutions can—individually and collectively—take to maintain and regain control of data infrastructure. These actions will determine who ultimately controls the research and education process and whether we meaningfully address inequities created by legacy players or simply recreate them in new ways. These decisions will also shape libraries’ role in the scholarly enterprise, now and for the future.
To help inform our work to regain and maintain community ownership over data and data infrastructure, SPARC has produced two documents to aid our member institutions and the broader community. …”
“SPARC is pleased to release our 2018-2019 Connect OER Annual Report, which offers insights about OER activities across North America. This year’s report examines the current state of OER activities featuring data from 132 institutions in the U.S. and Canada. Our intent is that these insights will help inform SPARC members, open education advocates, and the library community about current trends, best practices, and the collective impact being achieved through OER at participating institutions….”
“Today, SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) submitted a detailed filing to the U.S. Department of Justice urging federal antitrust enforcers to block the proposed merger between college textbook publishing giants Cengage and McGraw-Hill Education. The merger would create the largest publisher of college course materials in the United States and the world’s second largest education publisher overall….”
“The open access movement is being hailed in Africa as one of many solutions that can contribute to its development, as it opens access to scholarly literature which is critical for development. To fast track a positive development trajectory, Africa needs access to scholarly content to generate new knowledge, which provides solutions, at an exponential rate, to local challenges. Hence, there is growing reliance on freely accessible scholarly content, as well as free and open channels for the dissemination of scholarly information generated from the global south. Driving these free access and open dissemination channels is the social justice principle that researched and published solutions need to be equitably shared. As much as there is strong advocacy for free access, there has to be equal support for inclusive participation by global south researchers in knowledge creation and the free and equitable dissemination of this knowledge.
The open access movement must embrace the social justice elements embedded in the movement and robustly advance the liberation of marginalised voices. These “new voices [need] to find their way into disciplinary conversations, reach new audiences, both academic and public, and impact existing and emerging fields of scholarship and practice in a transformative way” (Roh 2016: 83). Open access services must become mainstream for academic and research institutions in Africa as open access is one of the most significant conduits for inclusive and free access to scholarship for the marginalised and has the mandate and potential to strongly promote unhindered participation in knowledge production.
This conference must challenge the open access movement and its advocates with their social justice principles to usher in equity and equal opportunity and to open the doors for full participation of new African voices in the scholarly communication landscape. There has to be a mind-set shift away from the assumption that the global south will remain ignorant and underdeveloped until it has access to the global north’s knowledge. The creation and dissemination of global south research will convert the one directional flow of information to a facilitated process of equitable knowledge exchange.”
“The Association of Research Libraries (ARL), through its mission to catalyze the collective efforts of research libraries to enable knowledge creation and to achieve enduring and barrier-free access to information, supports the COAR/SPARC Good Practice Principles for Scholarly Communication Services. The landscape of tools and infrastructure to support the research enterprise reflects a complex mix of economic models, both commercial and community-owned, both proprietary and open source. With the growing enthusiasm and support in Canadian and US research libraries for academy-owned, community-governed open scholarly communication, these seven principles serve as excellent guideposts for the community as it builds and coordinates components and services for open scholarship….”
“Latin America has a vision for open scholarly communication—and it works. Scientists have long shared their research results through academic institutions, sidestepping the commercial publishing structure and enabling equitable access to all.
Now, as market forces threaten to alter the landscape, a new effort is underway to preserve the unique, publicly-funded approach and celebrate the successful model native to the region.
Open Knowledge for Latin American and the Global South, known as AmeliCA, launched in October 2018 with the goal of strengthening well-established scientific publishing and building partnerships. The coalition strives to develop a platform across institutions that will enable journals to keep operating without charging authors or readers. To date, 18 universities have joined and more than 100 journals are sharing a common infrastructure of software, tools, hosting, and training services.
Recognizing that equity and inclusion are at the center of this initiative’s mission, SPARC honors AmeliCA with its June 2019 Innovator Award as a shining example of what works with Open Access….”
“Libraries are increasingly considering scaling back their subscriptions or cancelling big deals altogether. Yet, the question of how and where to reinvest the resources that become available is both far from settled and increasingly pressing. As we start to move away from the subscription model, we should be intentional about crafting the vision for open research communication we strive to build and how we intend to build it.
This forum, “If I Had A Million Dollars: Collective Reinvestment in Open Infrastructure,” will invite active participation throughout the session in a facilitated discussion with experts representing both libraries and research funders. …”
The 2019 Open Access Week Advisory Committee is pleased to announce that the theme for the 2019 International Open Access Week, to be held October 21-27, will be “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge”.
As the transition to a system for sharing knowledge that is open by default accelerates, the question “open for whom?” is essential—both to consider and to act upon. Whose interests are being prioritized in the actions we take and in the platforms that we support? Whose voices are excluded? Are underrepresented groups included as full partners from the beginning? Are we supporting not only open access but also equitable participation in research communication? These questions will determine the extent to which emerging open systems for research will address inequities in the current system or replicate and reinforce them.
This year’s theme will build on the groundwork laid last year when discussions focused on “Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge.” The 2018 theme highlighted the importance of making a central commitment to equity as we transition toward new systems for sharing knowledge, and the past twelve months have only seen the pace of that transition increase. Because of this, the Open Access Week Advisory Committee decided it was important to focus on equity again in 2019—to deepen our conversations about being inclusive by design and to turn those conversations into action.