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The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) "is an alliance of universities, research libraries, and organizations. The coalition was an initiative of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) started in 1997 to be a constructive response to market dysfunctions in the scholarly communication system. These dysfunctions have reduced dissemination of scholarship and crippled libraries. SPARC serves as a catalyst for action, helping to create systems that expand information dissemination and use in a networked digital environment while responding to the needs of academe." With its publisher partners programs, SPARC works to develop and support open access or low-cost academic journals.

BioMed Central

BioMed Central is perhaps the largest and best-known publisher of open access research in the biomedical area, publishing over 200 titles, many with quite respectable impact factors. With our supporting membership in BMC, U of Illinois authors are entitled to a 15% discount on the article processing charge. For a list of recent articles writen by University of Illinois researchers, visit this page.

Reasons to publish in a BMC journal are numerous, but the main reason is to have an article gain a wider readership, and thus be used and cited more frequently. Other reasons for publishing with BMC are outlined in this announcement about our membership.

Nucleic Acids Research (NAR)

Until recently, Nucleic Acids Research (NAR) was a typical journal. The library subscribed to it so everyone on campus would have access to it electronically. In 2005, recognizing that researchers (and their funders) wanted their research to have the widest possible impact and dissemination, Oxford University Press, the publisher of NAR, decide to try something different. The whole journal would be available to everyone in the world to read for free. Publication costs would be borne by the authors. As they phrase it:

... they are moving away from the current subscription-funded model towards an author-funded publication model, in which authors pay to have their papers published in NAR and made freely available online immediately upon publication. cite

The University Library has continued to pay a subscription fee (now termed a membership) so that authors from our institution need only pay 50% of the standard fee. In 2008, this means our authors would pay $1335 instead of the non-member charge, $2670. See the Oxford web site for more details about the benefits of open access publishing in Nucleic Acids Research.


In June 2008 the Library signed an Expression of Interest to support the new SCOAP3 (Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics) initiative, supporting open access publishing in high energy physics.