May 19, 2022

SPARC Releases Roadmap for Higher Education Institutions to Counter Industry’s Growing Control Over Academic Data and Analytics


Today, SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), released a new report: Academic Community Control of Data Infrastructure – A Roadmap for Action, to help academic institutions combat the publishing industry’s increasing control over academic data and data infrastructure.


The Roadmap for Action outlines individual and collective actions that institutions can use to maintain and regain control of their data and data infrastructure. Recognizing that solutions are not one size fits all, the framework offers a range of possible options that can be adapted to each institution’s local culture and needs. Developed by SPARC in consultation with experts and stakeholders, the proposed solutions are organized into three categories:

  • Risk Mitigation. Actions that can be executed relatively quickly, require a varying but manageable amount of investment and expense, and achieve a tangible impact on how data is treated within institutions. Examples include the establishment of data coordination mechanisms, revision of data policies, and the adoption of open procurement policies.

  • Strategic Choices. Actions in this category require a thorough debate of issues that do not have easy answers. Questions such as what metrics to use, the extent to rely on artificial intelligence, and the extent to which to prioritize IP exploitation require a deep analysis of both pros and cons, as well as a realistic assessment of what is culturally acceptable in terms of actions.  Individual institutions will have different responses to these choices according to their values and missions, and will need to engage a wide variety of stakeholders.

  • Community Actions. The community-based, structural actions in this category are possible end-game solutions to enable groups of institutions to retake control of their data infrastructure. They include different scenarios ranging from shared investment in building new infrastructure, to the collective acquisition of existing infrastructure, to the creation of new governance and ownership models for infrastructure providers.

Direct to Full Text: A Roadmap for Action: Academic Community Control of Data Infrastructure”
32 pages; PDF.

Read the Complete Publication Announcement

See Also: SPARC Publishes Landscape Analysis of the Changing Academic Publishing Industry (April 6, 2019)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.