New SPARC Sponsorship Guide Steers Journals to Success

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New SPARC Sponsorship Guide Steers Journals to Success

Provides practical advice on obtaining and governing corporate sponsors

August 1, 2005

For more information, contact:

Alison Buckholtz,

Washington, D.C.— –  SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) today released Sponsorships for Nonprofit Scholarly & Scientific Journals: A Guide to Defining & Negotiating Successful Sponsorships [PDF]. This new, freely available guide helps nonprofit publishers evaluate the viability of implementing a corporate sponsorship program and describes ways to develop a sponsorship program as a component of the journal’s income stream.

The guide defines a sponsorship as a relationship between a journal and a provider of funds, resources, or services, in return for which the journal offers rights and associations that may be used for the sponsor’s advantage. Under this definition, the notion of sponsorship goes beyond advertising or philanthropy. For a journal, a sponsorship can help advance the journal’s mission by enhancing revenue and allowing the publisher a wider range of opportunities to serve readers. In return, as part of a well-conceived marketing strategy, such a sponsorship allows a corporate marketing partner to communicate more effectively with its target market.

By explicitly identifying sponsorship characteristics, the guide helps journal publishers decide whether they are a suitable mechanism to add to their business model. It also describes how a publisher can determine whether a sponsorship program makes sense for any given journal. While some publishers will be able to offer sponsor benefits of sufficient value to attract sponsorships that can support a journal's entire operation, others may most effectively use a sponsorship program to supplement existing income streams. The guide covers this range and describes how sponsorships can complement other income-generating means.

The SPARC-published guide includes chapters on evaluating the potential for journal sponsorships, planning the journal's sponsorship program, developing sponsorship guidelines to protect a journal's editorial independence and integrity, and negotiating sponsorships. Each chapter delves into the specifics of the topic. For example, the chapter on negotiating sponsorships takes readers through developing a sponsorship prospectus, negotiating an agreement, approaching potential sponsors and writing the agreement, reporting results, and managing the sponsorship portfolio.

“SPARC’s new guide recognizes the reality that corporate sponsorships of nonprofit journals can be mutually beneficial,” said SPARC Executive Director Heather Joseph. “Many publishers are searching for new revenue streams which can in turn allow them to better serve their audience, and sponsorships offer a mechanism to increase their range of options without compromising their editorial mission. A strong match of journal and sponsor can allow sponsors to benefit from association with the journal’s reputation, and from the perception by its readers that the sponsor is providing a societal benefit.”

The SPARC Sponsorship Guide includes several case studies, including sample journal audience segmentation, sample journal sponsorship policies, sample sponsorship valuation comparables, and sample sponsorship value estimates. It also includes a bibliography to suggest further reading.