SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) released their member update this morning and shared the news that they have officially joined the Data Coalition, an organization that “advocates on behalf of the private sector and the public interest for the publication of government information as standardized, machine-readable data.” The Data Coalition also organizes and supports data advocacy events, such as DataRefuge, which are popping up all around the country, including New England (e.g., DataRescue Boston at MIT on February 18). Although librarians and archivists have worked diligently across many Presidents’ Administrations to protect and ensure access to government data, last week’s Fair Use Week discussions pointed out that their concern over government data is more pronounced right now. DataRefuge is a project originally scoped to rescue climate and environmental data, but librarians via the Libraries Network have recently connected to include protection and preservation of more types of born-digital government data. These events and activities are in support of the DATA Act and the OPEN Government Data Act, established and passed in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
The current prominence of DataRefuge and the news that SPARC has joined Data Coalition is timely since this Saturday, March 4th, is International Open Data Day. This is a day dedicated to engaging researchers, students, and fellow librarians in creating, using, and reusing Open Data. One of SPARC’s first actions as Data Coalition members will be to co-host two events during Open Data Day. The first is a two-day, global Open Data ‘do-a-thon’, which will be co-hosted with the U.S. National Institutes of Health. This event is based around a face-to-face gathering in London, but you can join remotely to participate in discussions before, during, and after the event. Later in Washington DC, SPARC, along with the Sunlight Foundation and Center for Open Data Enterprise, will co-host afternoon discussions with leaders from government and civil society about Open Data. You are welcome to join in those discussions.
SPARC will likely post Open Data Day activities on their Twitter feed, and they are an organization that I’d recommend following if you have an interest in open access, open educational resource, and open data. You can follow on SPARC @SPARC_NA. Dartmouth is proud to be a SPARC member.