About Us

SPARC®, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, is an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication. SPARC believes that faster and wider sharing of the outputs of the scholarly research process increases the impact of research, fuels the advancement of knowledge, and increases the return on research investments. SPARC focuses on taking action in collaboration with stakeholders – including authors, publishers, and libraries – to build on the unprecedented opportunities created by the networked digital environment to advance the conduct of scholarship. 

As a catalyst for action, our pragmatic agenda focuses on supporting the emergence of new scholarly communication models that expand the dissemination of scholarly research and reduce financial pressures on libraries and create a more open system of scholarly communications. SPARC’s strategy focuses on reducing barriers to the access, sharing, and use of scholarship. Our highest priority is advancing the understanding and implementation of policies and practices that ensure Open Access to scholarly research outputs. SPARC’s primary focus is on journal literature, but our evolving strategy reflects an increasing focus on Open Access to research outputs of all kinds – including digital data and open educational resources (OER).

See our fact sheet on SPARC and the benefits of membership for libraries.

What Does SPARC Do?

SPARC's activities will advance acceptance and long-term sustainability of an open system for scholarly communication. SPARC will promote changes to both the infrastructure and culture needed to make "open" the default mode in scholarly communication. SPARC’s activities are centered on the following broad issue areas:

Open Access to Scholarly and Scientific Research Articles: SPARC supports the immediate, barrier-free online availability of scholarly and scientific research articles, coupled with the rights to reuse these articles fully in the digital environment, and supports practices and policies that enable this.

Open Data: SPARC recognizes that the conduct of scientific and scholarly research is increasingly digital, and that its advancement is predicated on being able to access, comment on, build upon and reuse data. SPARC supports practices and polices that promote broad, open accessibility and utility of scholarly and scientific research data.

Open Educational Resources (OER): SPARC believes that Open Education makes the link between teaching, learning and the collaborative culture of the Internet. SPARC supports the open creation and sharing of materials used in teaching, as well as new approaches to learning where people create and shape knowledge openly together, and supports practices and policies to advance this vision.

SPARC's role in stimulating change focuses on:

  • Educating stakeholders about challenges in the scholarly communication system and the opportunities for change;
  • Advocating for policy changes that leverage technology to advance scholarly communication and that explicitly recognize that dissemination is an essential, inseparable component of the research process;
  • Incubating demonstrations of business and publishing models that leverage openness for the benefit of scholarship and academe.

The current Program Plan contains current information about SPARC's direction. More indepth information and progress updates on change in scholarly communication is available from SPARC publications.

Review the SPARC community's key 2013 accomplishments.

Who is a Member?

Today membership in SPARC (and our partner organizations SPARC Europe and SPARC Japan) numbers nearly 800 institutions in North America, Europe, Japan, China, and Australia. SPARC is also actively affiliated with major library, academic and advocacy organizations through our active coalition work.

SPARC finances its efforts through coalition member fees that support operating expenses and help build a capital fund to provide start-up money for its programs. SPARC also seeks grants to augment the capital fund. The key to SPARC's success, however, is the commitment of its members to support SPARC initiatives. The members elect a small group of their own to assist SPARC in creating and governing its programs through the SPARC Steering Committee according to the SPARC governance policies.