[Open letter to Donald Trump]

“On behalf of the undersigned national and regional library, research, publishing, and advocacy organizations, we are writing to express our commitment to ensuring that American taxpayers are guaranteed immediate, free, and unfettered access to the results of scientific research that their tax dollars support, and to encourage the Administration to support continued progress towards this shared goal. We strongly endorse updating existing U.S. policy to eliminate the current 12-month embargo period on articles reporting on publicly funded research, and to ensure that they are made immediately available under terms and conditions that allow their full reuse. To unlock the full value of our collective investment in science, the underlying data needed to validate an article’s conclusions, along with any corresponding software or code, should also be made immediately available….”

SPARC Letter to the White House Regarding Rumored Open Access Policy – SPARC

“As a coalition representing more than 210 academic and research libraries on college and university campuses and related organizations across the country (see below for full list), we write to express our strong support for a federal policy that would make the results of taxpayer-funded research immediately available for the public to freely access and fully use. We wholeheartedly endorse updating current policy and eliminating the unnecessary 12-month waiting period for the public to gain access to the outputs of scientific research, including data, articles, and the supporting computer code.

Each year, the federal government uses taxpayer dollars to fund more than $60 billion dollars in scientific research. The government funds this research with the understanding that it will advance science, spur the economy, accelerate innovation, and improve the lives of its citizens. Yet, under current policy, most taxpayers – including academics, students, and patients – are not able to access the results of the research that their tax dollars fund for at least a year.

The research is only available through prohibitively expensive subscriptions to scientific journals, or through individual pay-per-view schemes where articles cost upwards of $30 to view. No college or university – even well-funded private institutions like Harvard University – can afford to subscribe to all of the scientific journals that their faculty, researchers, and students require. As a result, major university library systems (most notably the University of California System) have publicly stated that the current system is broken, and that they will no longer pay to subscribe to expensive journal packages.

Immediate, barrier-free access policies can play a crucial role in ensuring that our nation’s scientific research infrastructure is designed to optimize the accessibility and utility of these articles from the outset, amplifying all of the desired outcomes from publicly funded research. The research community has long recognized the opportunity that immediate, barrier-free, online access presents to researchers to work faster, by enabling them to get to research articles and incorporate new findings into their research more rapidly….”

SPARC Statement on Rumored New White House Open Access Policy

“Like others, we have heard rumors about a possible new Administration Open Access Policy. As a coalition of more than 200 academic and research libraries on college and university campuses across the country, SPARC has long advocated for a federal policy that would make the results of taxpayer-funded research immediately available for the public to freely access and fully use. We wholeheartedly endorse updating current policy and eliminating the unnecessary 12-month waiting period for the public to gain access to the outputs of taxpayer-funded scientific research, including data, articles, and the supporting computer code.

Ensuring full open access to articles and data reporting on the results of publicly funded research will deliver important benefits to all by improving scientific productivity, generating new uses and applications for research, empowering startup ventures and businesses, and giving patients and their families hope of finding cures to rare and currently untreatable diseases. Without a zero-embargo policy, the U.S. stands to fall substantially behind many other nations that have already introduced strong open access policies.”

Community-Owned Infrastructure – SPARC

“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 Releases Connect OER Annual Report for 2018-2019 – SPARC

“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….”

SPARC Urges Department of Justice to Block Merger Between Cengage and McGraw-Hill – SPARC

“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….”

Open access and social justice driving African development

“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.”

ARL Endorses COAR/SPARC Good Practice Principles for Scholarly Communication Services – Association of Research Libraries

“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….”