Leadership Change at SPARC

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Rick Johnson to pass reins to BioOne’s Heather Joseph

April 21, 2005

For more information, contact:

John D'Ignazio, john@arl.org

Washington, D.C.—Rick Johnson, the founding Executive Director of SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), has announced his decision to resign. Heather Joseph has been named to succeed him. Joseph is the founding President and Chief Operating Officer of BioOne, an innovative aggregation of high-impact bioscience research journals. The change in SPARC leadership is effective July 1, 2005.

“Rick's leadership of SPARC was crucial in making libraries an important force in the process of transforming scholarly communication,” said Duane Webster, executive director of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the organization that initiated the founding of SPARC. “The news that Rick is leaving is tempered, however by having someone of Heather Joseph’s caliber and experience assume this critical role. ARL, SPARC, and BioOne already have close working relationships that will ensure continuity and a seamless transition in leadership.”

Joseph held a number of senior positions with publishing organizations in both the non-profit and commercial sectors before signing on to help launch BioOne in 2000. BioOne is a groundbreaking collaboration among scientific societies, libraries, academe and the commercial sector that works to transform the scholarly communication process by providing expanded access to scientific research results. SPARC was instrumental in the establishment of BioOne, raising crucial development funds from SPARC member libraries and supplying business-planning expertise to help ensure the venture's sustainability.

“I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to an organization deeply committed to expanding access to information,” said Joseph. “I look forward to the challenge of building on the strong foundation that Rick has built, and working to advance SPARC's important and ambitious agenda.”

SPARC Steering Committee Chair, James Neal, vice president for information services and university librarian at Columbia University, also expressed his deep admiration for Johnson's accomplishments at SPARC and for ARL's decision to move quickly with Joseph's appointment. “Rick Johnson is a dedicated and heroic champion for open access. The power of his leadership is nowhere more apparent than in the success he had in orchestrating a broad community of support for the NIH public access policy. Heather Joseph is a stellar choice to assume the leadership of SPARC. Her commitment to barrier-free access combined with her experience in scientific publishing make for a perfect leader to address the challenges presented by the transformation of scholarly communication. SPARC's agenda is ambitious and Heather's appointment assures that we won't miss a beat.”

“Developing and running SPARC has been the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Johnson.“I'm grateful for the support libraries have given me and I'm proud of the progress we've achieved together. After seven years at the helm, it's time to catch my breath and make way for new leadership and fresh perspectives. I expect to do some consulting and travel and to spend more time with my family. Nonetheless, I remain energized by the issues SPARC is addressing, so I plan to explore new ways of contributing.”

“While meaningful change benefiting scholarship is well underway and can never be stopped, there's more work for SPARC to do,” Johnson added. “Knowing that Heather Joseph is ready to step in gives me great confidence that SPARC's greatest achievements are ahead.”