May 26, 2022

SPARC Releases 2021 Update to Landscape Analysis & Roadmap for Action


Today, SPARC is pleased to release the 2021 Update to the SPARC Landscape Analysis and Roadmap for Action. Building on SPARC’s previous analysis, the 2021 update reviews the impact of the past year on the broader research and education markets and on key individual firms within these markets.

The report describes the latest developments in what are now well-established concerns—rising market concentration, increased bundling, further divergence in the interests of academic institutions and the vendors that claim to serve them—and tracks emerging concerns that have grown over the past year. These newer trends include increased lobbying to protect “inclusive access” practices that limit student choices and the widening use of monitoring technologies with little transparency and broader participation in surveillance activities that raise serious concerns for academic freedom and the safety of individuals.

A number of positive developments also emerged: a large textbook publisher merger failed; new large-scale initiatives were launched, including Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI), thus strengthening a global effort to build community-owned infrastructure; and some significant legislative and regulatory progress was made.

The 2021 Update contains additional recommendations that supplement those first published in the SPARC 2019 Roadmap for Action. These recommendations include introducing organizational changes within academic institutions to better manage strategic and ethical challenges, and deploying tools and data to better understand the needs of the individuals and communities.


The update was compiled by Claudio Aspesi, market expert and lead author, along with SPARC’s Nicole Allen, Raym Crow, Valorie Hollister, Heather Joseph, Joseph McArthur, Nick Shockey, and Katie Steen.

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Direct to Full Text: 2021 Update to the SPARC Landscape Analysis and Roadmap for Action

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.