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What is SPARC?

SPARC®, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, is an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to correct imbalances in the scholarly publishing system. Developed by the Association of Research Libraries, SPARC has become a catalyst for change. Its pragmatic focus is to stimulate the emergence of new scholarly communication models that expand the dissemination of scholarly research and reduce financial pressures on libraries. Action by SPARC in collaboration with stakeholders – including authors, publishers, and libraries – builds on the unprecedented opportunities created by the networked digital environment to advance the conduct of scholarship. Leading academic organizations have endorsed SPARC.

What Does SPARC Do?

SPARC’s role in stimulating change focuses on:

Educating stakeholders about the problems facing scholarly communication and the opportunities for change; Advocating policy changes that advance the potential of technology to advance scholarly communication and that explicitly recognize that dissemination is an essential, inseparable component of the research process; Incubating real-world demonstrations of business and publishing models that advance changes benefiting scholarship and academe. Since its launch in 1997, the SPARC coalition, served by the SPARC staff and subject to the fiscal oversight and controls of ARL, has advanced this agenda by:

demonstrating that new journals can successfully compete for authors and quickly establish quality;

effectively driving down the cost of journals;

creating an environment in which editors and editorial board members claim more prominent roles in the business aspects of their journals;

stimulating the development of increased publishing capacity in the not-for-profit sector and encouraging new players to enter the market;

providing help and guidance to scientists and librarians interested in creating change;

carrying the methods and message of change to international stakeholders.

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