Scientific Communities

The SPARC Scientific Communities publisher partner program recognizes the importance of building new outlets for scientific communication around the broad information needs of the communities of users they serve. The program supports development of non-profit information aggregations or portals that serve specified scientific communities by providing high-quality, reasonably priced access peer-reviewed research and other needed content from a variety of sources or publishers. The current SPARC Scientific Communities publisher partners are listed with the partners representing the other two partnership programs: SPARC Alternative and SPARC Leading Edge.

Evaluation Criteria

Potential partners will be evaluated and selected based upon their standing relative to specific criteria and, if appropriate, the results of negotiations for an agreement. Potential projects will be considered based upon market need and the likelihood of contributing to the success in meeting SPARC's goals. Since SPARC must allocate its resources only to those opportunities with a solid financial basis, it is keenly interested in the project's ability to attain a leading position in its field, meet its commitments, and achieve financial viability.

Evaluation criteria for potential partners in SPARC's Scientific Communities Program include:


  1. Critical mass.  Plans should demonstrate a strategy for aggregating a critical mass of prestigious peer-reviewed journals and other content or links around user needs in a targeted STM field.
  2. Base in non-profit sector. Qualifying projects must be operated on a non-profit basis, and demonstrate means of assuring ongoing responsiveness to the needs of scientists—as authors and information users—libraries. Partnerships and alliances among universities and professional societies are encouraged, and formal involvement by an academic institution is strongly preferred.
  3. Market impact. We are looking for projects that assure broad dissemination of research at reasonable prices.
  4. International perspective.
  5. Use of electronic media or technologies to reduce cost, serve emerging needs, integrate information types, unify fractured sub-fields, or otherwise obtain competitive advantage and/or add value for users.
  6. Well-defined purpose.
  7. Reputation of partner and compatibility of publisher's business practices and values with the interests of libraries.
  8. Advancement of library, author, and user interests in matters of intellectual property, usage rights, and archiving.
  9. Financial viability of the partner.
  10. Capability of partner to manage the project and meet the requirements of the written agreement.

In the course of any negotiations between SPARC and the potential partner, shared data of a proprietary nature will remain the property of the disclosing party and will be kept confidential by the other when marked "Confidential" by the originator.


Next Steps

If you believe your organization may qualify for partnership, contact the SPARC Director with a preliminary proposal that describes your venture and how it addresses the criteria above.

SPARC reserves the right to determine at its sole discretion the appropriateness and eligibility of any party as a potential SPARC Partner. Any partnership or other relationship that may be established must be governed by a written agreement.

SPARC Resources

View resource portal»

Why Access Matters