New SPARC Discussion List Advances Open Data Dialogue

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New SPARC Discussion List Advances Open Data Dialogue
Expanded availability of scientific research data on the Internet to be explored

For Immediate Release
October 24, 2005

For more information, contact:
Alison Buckholtz, SPARC,

Washington, DC – SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has launched the new “SPARC-OpenData” e-mail discussion list, which will explore issues of access to digital data associated with peer-reviewed science, technical and medical (STM) research.

According to the list’s founder and moderator, Peter Murray-Rust of the Unilever Centre for Molecular Sciences Informatics at the University of Cambridge (UK), “The emerging Open Data movement shares many goals with the Open Access and Open Source movements, but encompasses its own distinct issues that are in need of examination by the scientific community. This list is intended to facilitate that important discussion.”

Many advocates of Open Data believe that, although there are substantial potential benefits from sharing and reusing digital data upon which scientific advances are built, today much of it is being lost or underutilized because of legal, technological and other barriers. The new discussion list will enable participants to debate issues of access to and re-use of research data that researchers or funders wish to see available for use by others. The list’s emphasis is on defining the scope of Open Data and collecting examples of desirable and undesirable practices.

“SPARC’s interest in Open Data is an extension of our interest in open digital archives such as institutional repositories, Open Access publishing of research articles, and library support of science in the digital environment,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC. “We are pleased and honored to be able to work with Dr. Murray-Rust to broaden the discussion of Open Data.”

To subscribe to the SPARC-OpenData discussion list, send a message to: <>.

Further details on the SPARC-OpenData discussion list are online at


SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and SPARC Europe are an international alliance of more than 300 academic and research libraries working to unleash the potential of the Internet to enhance scholarly communication. SPARC advocacy, educational, and publisher partnership programs encourage expanded dissemination of research. SPARC is located on the Web at; SPARC Europe is at