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For immediate release
August 5, 2009

For more information, contact
Jennifer McLennan
(202) 296-2296 ext 121
jennifer [at] arl [dot] org 

Introduces centralized resource and group of experts to advise policy development

Washington, DC – Last month, the University of Kansas became the first public university in the U.S. to adopt a policy to ensure free and open access to the results of the institution’s research outputs. As a growing number of colleges and universities embark on the path toward an institutional open-access policy, SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) invites libraries to take advantage of a new Web resource built to leverage experience gained in establishing such policies to date.

Those familiar with Open Access understand the benefits that flow from providing enhanced access to scholarly journal articles. They also understand that a well-designed institutional research access policy can bring scholarly outputs to the attention of new audiences around the world without disrupting any of the foundations of scholarly communication – such as peer review, academic freedom, or the sustainability of scholarly societies and their publications.

However, many faculty members and administrators are still unfamiliar with the specifics of Open Access. Timely, accurate information about the motivations and mechanics of an open-access policy and how it would operate in connection with faculty publishing practices is of crucial importance to anyone about to embark on this path.

SPARC has introduced a new suite of Web-based tools to facilitate fact-based campus policy discussions on Open Access, including hot-button topics such as copyright, journal sustainability, disciplinary differences, and author rights. Readers are invited to:

  1. Learn about campus open-access policies implemented to date, including that of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, through videos and white papers publicly available online.
  2. Request copies of offline documents, including a list of “Responses to Common Misconceptions” related to open-access policies and “Choice Points” to be addressed in policy development.
  3. Request support from a group of expert advisers who helped to develop these resources, have experience with gaining faculty acceptance for an institutional open-access policy, and who stand by to answer questions that remain after examining available tools.

The SPARC campus open-access policy advisory group includes:

  • Hal Abelson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Michael W. Carroll, American University
  • Ray English, Oberlin College
  • Stevan Harnad, University of Southampton
  • John Palfrey, Harvard University
  • Stuart Shieber, Harvard University
  • Peter Suber, Earlham College
  • John Willinsky, Stanford University
  • Heather Joseph, SPARC Executive Director

“It has become increasingly clear to me that the many efforts on university campuses to draft, promote, and implement open-access policies can benefit from the experiences of others who have been through the process,” said Stuart Shieber, Director of Harvard’s Office of Scholarly Communication. “SPARC’s effort to codify this experience and to provide further consultation with those who have gone before is thus a valuable resource.”

“The growing voice of faculty members who recognize that Open Access can benefit their institution, their discipline and themselves as individual scholars is heartening,” said Heather Joseph, SPARC Executive Director. “SPARC is pleased to offer these resources to help support the important work that faculty members, librarians, and administrators are doing to raise the profile of Open Access on college and university campuses.”

For more information, visit the new SPARC resource center online at



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. SPARC is on the Web at