SPARC Europe Hires Director and Formally Launches Organisation Based at Oxford University

Advocacy initiatives and local projects already underway; LIBER to act as umbrella organisation for pan-European membership.

Glasgow, Scotland – SPARC Europe (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), the pan-European alliance of research libraries and institutions that promotes competition in scholarly journal publishing, and LIBER, the principal association of the major research libraries of Europe, today announced that David Prosser will become SPARC Europe’s first director. SPARC Europe, which has 39 members from ten countries and operates under the auspices of LIBER, will be based in Oxford, U.K.

Dr. Prosser, currently journals commissioning editor at Oxford University Press in Oxford, UK, will begin his tenure as SPARC Europe director in late October 2002. He brings to SPARC Europe experience in all areas of journal management, including finance, online and print production, and marketing. As commissioning editor at Oxford University Press, he is responsible for the management of a suite of molecular biology and life science journals. He has also held a range of positions at Elsevier Science Ltd. Dr. Prosser holds BSc (Honours) and PhD degrees in physics from the University of Leeds.

SPARC Europe will collaborate with the SPARC head office in Washington, DC, and will develop Europe-focused partnerships and initiatives under the direction of Dr. Prosser and a European managing board. LIBER, which has formally agreed to act as the legal entity under which SPARC Europe will operate, will further support SPARC Europe by providing expertise and necessary contacts with LIBER’s member libraries.

“SPARC Europe’s strong start, illustrated by the dozens of members from across Europe that quickly responded to our call, proves that SPARC Europe answers a need for a fresh approach to addressing dysfunctions in the scholarly communication system,” said Elmar Mittler, LIBER president and library director at the University of Goettingen (Germany). “SPARC Europe’s new director, David Prosser, brings to the task a breadth of experience with the European publishing marketplace and a deep familiarity with journal publishing specifically. Under Dr. Prosser’s leadership, SPARC Europe and LIBER will bring tailor-made, localised solutions to academic communities throughout Europe. LIBER looks forward to a long and close association with SPARC and SPARC Europe.”

“SPARC Europe’s advocacy programmes, such as the U.K.’s Create Change initiative, have already begun to enhance awareness among scholars across Europe,” said Rick Johnson, SPARC Enterprise Director. “Under the leadership of David Prosser and LIBER, and with continued cooperation from SPARC’s U.S. office, SPARC Europe will introduce proactive, results-oriented projects and partnerships to its European membership.”

SPARC recently distributed a major white paper examining the strategic roles institutional repositories serve for colleges and universities. The conclusions of this paper will be a starting point for SPARC Europe’s work under Dr. Prosser. The paper asserts that institutional repositories are a natural extension of an academic institution’s role as a generator of primary research, and envisions such repositories as critical components in the evolving structure of scholarly communication. The white paper finds that the enabling technologies, standards, and protocols to support institutional repositories already exist; therefore, institutional repositories can be implemented immediately.

SPARC Europe membership continues to grow, with current members coming from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Turkey, and the U.K. SPARC Europe’s organisational sponsors include the Consortium of University Research Libraries (CURL) in the UK; the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) in the UK; the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) of the UK and Ireland; and the SURF Foundation (The Netherlands). Membership in SPARC Europe is open to national and academic libraries, library organisations and research institutions in the region.

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SPARC and SPARC Europe are coalitions of research universities and libraries supporting increased competition in scholarly publishing. Membership currently numbers approximately 240 institutions and library consortia in North America, the U.K. and Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. SPARC is also affiliated with major library organizations in Canada, the U.K. and Ireland, Denmark, Australia and the USA. SPARC is located on the web at http://www.arl.org/sparc/; SPARC Europe is located on the web at http://www.sparceurope.org/.

LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche) is the principal association of the major research libraries of Europe. Founded in 1971 under the auspices of the Council of Europe, its current membership includes research libraries in more than thirty countries. LIBER represents and promotes the interests of research libraries, assisting research libraries in Europe to support a functional network across national boundaries in order to ensure the preservation of the European cultural heritage, to improve access to collections in European research libraries, and to provide more efficient information services in Europe.

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