[SPARC response to the NIH public access plan]

“SPARC strongly supports the OSTP Memorandum’s emphasis on ensuring equity in contributing to, accessing, and benefitting from the results of federally funded research, and we appreciate NIH’s specific attention on how to ensure equity in publication opportunities for its funded investigators. As the research process has shifted to the digital environment, a wide variety of channels designed to support more rapid, frequent, and iterative communication of research findings have emerged. It is vital that researchers have compliance options that do not present them with financial barriers. To that end, NIH should make it clear that investigators can fully comply with its public access policy by depositing their author’s accepted manuscripts into PubMed Central (PMC) or any other agency-approved repository—and that there is no charge to do so. In its guidance, it is important for NIH to make clear that any fee that investigators may be asked to pay is a publication fee, and not a fee required by NIH to comply with its policy. It is critical that investigators do not conflate compliance with article processing charges (APCs), which create significant barriers for less-well-resourced investigators and institutions to make their research available….”

U.S. Repository Network Information Session

“This session will share information about the development of the USRN and progress on its Action Plan 2022-2023, including desirable characteristics for digital publication repositories. A set of desirable characteristics alongside good practices is necessary to establish suitability of a digital publication repository to be an “agency-designated” repository for federally funded research as outlined in the August 2023 OSTP Memorandum. These desirable characteristics are intended to align / work in parallel with OSTP’s already issued Desirable Characteristics of Data Repositories for Federally Funded Research.

The U.S. Repository Network (USRN) is envisioned as an inclusive community committed to advancing repositories in the U.S. through advocacy, good practices, and community building. In this context, “U.S. repositories” refers to all open research repositories based in the U.S. regardless of content, host, or platform. That is, repositories containing articles, data, gray literature, and emerging forms of scholarship; repositories hosted by higher education institutions, research centers, or other nonprofit organizations; and repositories using open source or vended platforms, are considered to be part of this network. All such repositories are welcome to participate in the USRN as we seek to build value for all repositories in the U.S….”

Open Access Agreements: Factors to Consider – SPARC

“This document is intended to provide an overview of questions to ask and factors to consider when evaluating potential investments in open access (OA). 

When evaluating an offer from a publisher that incorporates an open access component with a subscription offer. This might include offers for read-and-publish/publish-and-read agreements or tiered membership models.
When evaluating an OA membership model that provides your institution’s authors with a discount on [or removal of] article processing charges (APCs).

There are many other models for open access transformations. Many of the same principles described in this document would apply to evaluating those offers. 

You can refer to OA analysis data sources for information on tools available for gathering this data.

In evaluating any OA offer, one must remember that collections decisions are based on many factors. Each subscription must be considered within the institution’s entire collections portfolio. This document addresses questions specific to agreements that include some sort of OA component….”

SPARC Members-only Briefing: 2023 Policy & Advocacy Priorities

Abstract:  SPARC will host a members-only briefing to outline SPARC’s 2023 U.S. policy and advocacy priorities in education and research. SPARC staff will reflect on our 2022 advocacy work and accomplishments, describe our strategy for the new year, and provide updates on legislative and executive branch activities in play at the federal and state level. There will be ample time to ask questions and provide feedback to SPARC staff. This briefing is intended to be a kick-off event for 2023 with forthcoming programming to discuss more specific ways members can engage in policy advocacy throughout the year.


Browse Data Sharing Requirements by Federal Agency

“This is a community resource for tracking, comparing, and understanding current U.S. federal funder research data sharing policies. Originally completed by SPARC & Johns Hopkins University Libraries in 2016, the content of this resource was updated by RDAP and SPARC in 2021….”

Lauren Kane Explores New Possibilities with Open and Partnerships at Helm of BioOne – SPARC

“BioOne, founded in 1999 and launched in 2001, provides libraries with a low-cost collection of curated titles and publishers with a community-based platform to distribute their journals. It works with more than 150 nonprofit publishers and 3,500 libraries, serving researchers, educators and students in the U.S. and internationally.

SPARC was a founding organization of BioOne, raising start-up funds from the library community to provide the capital to fund its launch.  From the start, the work of the organizations closely aligned: both are dedicated to a sustainable, equitable publishing ecosystem within the reach of all. 

BioOne’s structure allows its non-profit publishing partners to retain independence and editorial control, including the crucial decision of access and business model. Yet as the landscape changes, Kane said she is exploring ways to facilitate a sustainable transition to open access that works for smaller, less funded titles. Subscribe to Open (S2O) is among the approaches, Kane said, she’s following with interest. It’s appealing as a community-support model and one that the  library community is encouraging further investigation. (For details see Equity is at Heart of Subscribe to Open Model – SPARC) …”

OA.Works joins Code for Science & Society | Oct 18, 2022

“We’re thrilled to announce OA.Works has joined Code for Science and Society (CS&S), a US-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowering communities to build technology for the public good. “Joining CS&S marks a new phase of maturity for OA.Works, and their expertise in providing fiscal sponsorship to open source tech projects will allow us to capitalize on the many years of growth we enjoyed while being incubated at SPARC,” said Joe McArthur, Director of OA.Works. “Critically, this evolution reaffirms and continues to strengthen our commitment, and ability, to build free, open-source tools as a not-for-profit project.” … OA.Works will join CS&S as a fiscally sponsored project, a common arrangement for small nonprofit projects that enables us to focus on our mission while benefiting from the support of experts for operational and financial services. “We’ve been following OA.Works for years, and are thrilled to work with the team in their next phase of growth,“ said Danielle Robinson, Executive Director of CS&S. “We’ve been consistently impressed by OA.Works’ products to make open access easy. Beyond their products, OA.Works’ commitment to community engagement, transparency, and governance sets them up for sustainable impact.” Added Robinson, “At CS&S, our mission is advancing the power of data to improve the lives of all people through education, research, and technology. OA.Works’ open source software for open access improves public access to information, making them an ideal partner for fiscal sponsorship.” OA.Works joins others at CS&S, including Invest in Open Infrastructure, OpenRefine, and PREreview. You can learn more about CS&S’s work at codeforsociety.org….”

OA = Funders and Lobbyists | Oct 10, 2022

“Do OA and open science represent a set of aligned interests being pushed by the rich and powerful — politicians, funders, lobbyists, and larger commercial operators — to allow for techno-utopian political posturing while they double-dip on their already-plentiful societal advantages and increase the odds that their current advantages grow?

However you answer this very leading question, it’s increasingly clear that policies are not being implemented transparently and openly, but rather via a hidden web of relationships, deals, and coordination — from Plan S to OSTP.

More and more information is pointing to a gradual, purposeful, and internecine takeover of publishing, not to make it more author-centric, but to make it more funder-centric. The relationships among funders, governments, and oligarchs are often blurry, with lobbyists an indicator that some kind of alignment is in the works.

A recent paper in Science and Public Policy about inadequate transparency in the EU’s approach to creating its influential open science policy discusses the role of lobbyists in the paradigm shift from “science 2.0” to “open science” as policies were formulated in Brussels and elsewhere. This was a meaningful shift. Both phrases are vague, but the first is more commonly understood as connoting a digital future based on existing norms. The latter injects a new set of untested norms, with the authors worrying that: ‘. . . successful projects of openness tend to be exploited on the one hand by powerful commercial actors and, on the other hand, by non-serious or even criminal actors, sometimes working in a grey area.’

Given the trail of influence SPARC and ORFG have left in the US through the NLM and the OSTP — in addition to the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) — and their efforts to obscure relationships, roles, and ties to the registered lobbying firm (New Venture Fund [NVF]) that is their fiscal sponsor, some statements in the paper hit familiar notes when it comes to lobbyists on this side of the Atlantic:…

Given the power dynamics — with subscription-based journals creating strong filters at the headwaters of various scientific communities, often leading to funded projects being unpublished or published in lesser journals than their funders imagined — it’s little wonder funders changed lanes, entering publishing in order to gain further influence, lower barriers, and put their interests at the headwaters. “Publishers being co-opted by funders” now seems to be the unspoken intent of OA and open science.”


Statement by Library Futures and SPARC on Wiley E-Textbook Withdrawal | SPARC

In late August, at the start of the Fall 2022 school semester, Wiley Publishing Company abruptly withdrew 1,379 multidisciplinary titles from Proquest, a vendor for university ebook collections around the world. As a result, librarians and faculty members in the United States and internationally have scrambled to identify alternative textbook options for their students as the pandemic amplified the trouble with restrictive licensing and e-textbooks.

Library Futures and SPARC strongly condemn this action by Wiley, which seriously hinders students’ access to equitable, affordable course materials. The full list of titles and public contact information for their authors was compiled by Johanna Anderson of #ebookSOS.



Position Opening: Programs & Operations Specialist – SPARC

“The Programs and Operations Specialist position assists the Chief Operating Officer in the operational management of SPARC, which encompasses policy, advocacy, community organizing, and professional development initiatives. The Specialist provides key organizational support to the SPARC team, including coordinating virtual and in-person events, facilitating memberships, supporting the Steering Committee and their election process, and as well as general operational support. The position also coordinates parts of SPARC’s ongoing community programming and contributes to meaningful and impactful work across the organization. 

This full-time, virtual position is a prime opportunity for a motivated professional seeking to advance openness and equity in research and education while gaining valuable operational non-profit experience alongside experienced advocates and leaders. Candidates for employment must be authorized to work in the United States. Candidates outside of the United States may be considered as a contractor….”

Subscribe-to-Open Community of Practice Statement on the OSTP ‘Nelson Memo’

The Subscribe to Open (S2O) Community of Practice is an informal collective of over forty pro-open publishers, libraries, consortia, funders, service providers, and other stakeholders committed to providing equitable and economically sustainable OA publishing. The S2O Community of Practice welcomes the US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) memorandum on ensuring free, immediate, and equitable access to federally funded research.

International Open Access Week

” “Open for Climate Justice” is the theme for this year’s International Open Access Week (October 24-30).

Climate Justice is an explicit acknowledgement that the climate crisis has far-reaching effects, and the impacts are “not be[ing] borne equally or fairly, between rich and poor, women and men, and older and younger generations,” as the UN notes. These power imbalances also affect communities’ abilities to produce, disseminate, and use knowledge around the climate crisis. Openness can create pathways to more equitable knowledge sharing and serve as a means to address the inequities that shape the impacts of climate change and our response to them.

This year’s focus on Climate Justice seeks to encourage connection and collaboration among the climate movement and the international open community. Sharing knowledge is a human right, and tackling the climate crisis requires the rapid exchange of knowledge across geographic, economic, and disciplinary boundaries.

International Open Access Week is a time to coordinate across communities to make openness the default for research and to ensure that equity is at the center of this work. Selected by the Open Access Week Advisory Committee, this year’s theme is an opportunity to join together, take action, and raise awareness around how open enables climate justice. Open Access Week 2022 will be held from October 24th through the 30th; however, anyone is encouraged to host discussions and take action around “Open for Climate Justice” whenever is most suitable during the year and to adapt the theme and activities to their local context….”

Fact Sheet: White House OSTP Memo on Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research – SPARC

“On August 25, 2022, the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a memorandum on Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research that will make taxpayer-funded research immediately available for the public to freely access and fully use. This new guidance calls on all federal agencies to generate policies that eliminate the current 12-month waiting period for access to the outputs of federally funded research, including articles and data. 

Specifically, the new policy guidance …”