Earlier this year, Jisc became a member of Sparc Europe, which may come as a bit of a surprise since Jisc and Sparc Europe have collaborated on various things over the years, such as the Research Data competition with the University of Cambridge, and Jisc provided founding support for the organisation back in 2003, along with Research Libraries UK (RLUK) and SURF in the Netherlands. Jisc is also a supporter of The Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS), and Sherpa Romeo, the Jisc service which aggregates and analyses publisher open access policies, is a direct beneficiary of the crowd sourcing initiative.
Part of the reason Jisc joined now, arguably, is precisely because of those engagements, as well as that during COVID, many organisations like Jisc, continue to see the value of promoting open access and open research as much as we can. Sparc Europe was one of the main contributors to the recently published Diamond OA Study, which included an in-depth report and associated recommendations arising from a study of open access journals across the world that are free for readers and authors; the other major contributor to that study was OPERAS, which stands for “open scholarly communication in the European Research Area for Social Sciences and Humanities”, of which Jisc is also a member. Jisc is also active in LIBER, the Association of European Research Libraries; even though we’re not members of Liber, there is much overlap in how both entities support libraries, and Sparc Europe again is actively engaged in that space. Jisc also has a representative who sits on the board of Sparc Europe. Therefore, it increasingly became obvious that both Sparc Europe and Jisc were working so closely together that it made perfect sense to be even more closely connected.
Ultimately, we felt that both organisations shared key values and a vision for Open Research and Open Access. As Liz Bal, Director of Jisc’s Open Research Services, states, “Our mission is to help our members and the wider research community to realise the benefits of open research by removing barriers, embedding open practices and developing open infrastructure, and Sparc Europe inherently embraces that mission, too; to become members, Jisc sees itself not only strengthening that mission but working to advance open research at home and throughout Europe.”
Sparc Europe is a membership organisation open to any institution, including those in the UK. Their overall modus operandi include:
- Bringing policy and advocacy Open Access and Open Science good practice to Open Science professionals and researchers in Europe
- Addressing funders to help introduce or strengthen more Open Science policies across Europe
- Talking to research assessment bodies to consider Open Access and Open Science in the way that research is assessed in Europe
- Identifying gaps and overlaps in Open Science in Europe and exploring how to bring more efficiencies and knowledge to those involved in Open Science policy and advocacy in Europe
- Managing a global coalition of organisations who aim to sustain essential Open Science, and services such as DOAJ, Sherpa/Romeo, PKP, DOAB, OAPEN and OpenCitations and others in the future
If you’d like to learn more about Sparc Europe, get in touch by visiting their website: https://sparceurope.org/ourmembers/join-sparc-europe/.