New SPARC Guide and Online Community Aid Library-University Press Collaboration

Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
e-mail icon

For immediate release
January 22, 2009

For more information, contact:
Jennifer McLennan
(202) 296-2296

jennifer AT arl DOT org

New SPARC Guide and Online Community Aid Library-University Press Collaboration

Free Resource Offers Practical Help with Setting Up Successful Campus Publishing Partnerships

Washington, DC – January 22, 2009 – SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) today released Campus-based Publishing Partnerships: A guide to critical issues, by Raym Crow. The guide is the core of a new Web site, the Campus-based Publishing Resource Center, designed by a panel of advisors from the library and university press communities to support successful publishing partnerships.

Campus publishing partnerships can offer universities greater control over the intellectual products that they help create. But to fully realize this potential, partnerships need to evolve from ad hoc working alliances to stable, long-term collaborations. SPARC’s guide will help partnering organizations to:  

  • Establish practical governance and administrative structures;
  • Identify funding models that accommodate the different financial objectives of libraries and presses;
  • Define objectives that advance the missions of both the library and of the press, without disrupting the broader objectives of either; and
  • Demonstrate the value of the collaboration to university administrators.

Campus-based Publishing Partnerships will help libraries, presses, and other campus units to structure successful partnerships—and to recognize when collaboration is not the right course of action. The guide reviews current library-press initiatives, describes the potential benefits of partnerships, and provides an overview of the financial and operating criteria for launching and sustaining a successful collaboration. It provides practical guidance on structuring a publishing partnership, including case studies that illustrate key concepts.

“This is a moment of great opportunity for academic publishing and for university presses, in particular,” said Laura Cerruti, Director of Digital Content Development for the University of California Press. “SPARC's efforts to survey those in the trenches – librarians, university press publishers, and other active campus publishing entities – have resulted in an invaluable resource for those who are just beginning to tap into their campus's publishing needs and priorities. It gives them a head start, if you will.”

“It’s clear that university publishing needs to respond to the changes in our economic and technological environments to meet the needs of our scholars,” added Maria Bonn, director of the University of Michigan Scholarly Publishing Office. “Partnerships allow us to bring our collective expertise to bear on the challenge of creating an affordable publishing system. More universities will be looking to forge such partnerships in the future, and resources like those provided by the Campus-based Publishing Resource Center will be of great value in that process.”

“While the missions of libraries and presses differ,” said Heather Joseph, executive director of SPARC, “both entities recognize the growing need to address fundamental problems in scholarly publishing and to understand the interdependence of their organizations. By developing this resource, we hope to drive a shared exploration of new, innovative, sustainable publishing models.”

The resource center currently features case studies, a bibliography, and a listserv as well as the SPARC guide. In cooperation with its editorial board, the site will be expanded to include FAQs, sample planning documents, an index of collaborative initiatives, and other content suggested by the community.

The editorial board includes:

  • Patrick Alexander, Penn State University Press
  • Maria Bonn, University of Michigan Library
  • Laura Cerruti, University of California Press
  • Raym Crow, SPARC
  • Teresa Ehling, Cornell University Libraries
  • Mike Furlough, Penn State University Libraries
  • Karen Hill, University of Michigan Press
  • Rebecca Kennison, Columbia University
  • Monica McCormick, New York University
  • Catherine Mitchell, California Digital Library
  • Managing Editor: Jennifer McLennan, SPARC


SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), with SPARC Europe and SPARC Japan, is an international alliance of more than 800 academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication. SPARC’s advocacy, educational and publisher partnership programs encourage expanded dissemination of research.