Information Today
Volume 19, Issue 3 March 2002
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SPARC Launches New Consulting Group

SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has announced the formation of the SPARC Consulting Group, which provides business, financial, and strategic consulting services to universities and university presses, not-for-profit learned societies, and other academic and not-for-profit organizations, as well as to SPARC members and partners.

According to the announcement, the SPARC Consulting Group aims to support the development, launch, and operation of scholarly communications projects by helping to make them more competitive, financially self-sufficient, and better equipped to improve the scholarly communication marketplace via the following services:

  • Business, financial, and strategic advice

  • Conceptualization and preparation of business plans, pricing, and marketing plans

  • Economic modeling and financial plans

  • Market analysis and other services as necessary
"SPARC has been instrumental in the launch of scholarly communication initiatives which improve access to information, facilitate competition, and encourage community control," said Rick Johnson, SPARC's enterprise director. "With the SPARC Consulting Group, SPARC is providing direct access to expert assistance in developing, launching, and operating a new initiative, as well as in retooling existing activities. The SPARC Consulting Group supplements a client's experience, know-how, and resources; infuses objectivity and business knowledge; and leverages prior work on related projects to provide effective solutions, all at a reasonable cost. It is essential that not-for-profit scholarly initiatives build viable, sustainable products, and the SPARC Consulting Group can help them do that."

The SPARC Consulting Group providesaccess to qualified consultants acting as independent contractors. Howard Goldstein, the group's senior consultant, hasover 25 years of experience in scholarly and professional publishing. Current clients include university libraries, university presses, learned societies, and other academic and nonprofit organizations. Under a typical engagement, the focus is on validating and possibly modifying an existing concept, and then planning thoroughly for a start-up or early-stage product or project with the objective of becoming sustainable over the long term.

Consulting services are a client-specific, fee-based adjunct to SPARC's existing services, which remain free of charge. Inquiries regarding the SPARC Consulting Group may be sent by e-mail to Goldstein at goldsteinh@aol.com or Johnson at rick@arl.org.

Source: SPARC, Washington, DC, 202/296-2296; http://www.arl.org/sparc.

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