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A voice for change from within the publishing establishment

For Immediate Release
July 2, 2009

For more information, contact:
Jennifer McLennan
(202) 296-2296 ext 121
jennifer [at] arl [dot] org

A voice for change from within the publishing establishment:
Mike Rossner honored as latest SPARC innovator

Washington, DC -- For creating forward-thinking publishing 
policies to expand access and verify scientific research, SPARC 
(the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has 
named Mike Rossner, executive director of the Rockefeller 
University Press (RUP) in New York the latest SPARC innovator.

Rossner, a scientist by training and director of RUP since 2006, 
has been a force within the publishing community pushing for 
change. He has worked to promote wider sharing of research 
results, while balancing the challenge of sustaining a thriving 
publishing operation.

Rossner has led the RUP in championing free public access by 
implementing a policy to release the full contents of their 
journals after just a six-month delay. Last year, under his 
leadership, RUP took another step to promote the free 
distribution of their content by adopting a new copyright policy 
similar to a modified Creative Commons license. He has been an 
outspoken advocate for positive change, writing compelling pieces 
on topics as wide-ranging as support for the NIH Public Access 
Policy, unfair pricing practices by mega-publishers, and the need 
for greater transparency in journal metrics. Rossner was one of 
the first publishers to announce a freeze on journal subscription 
prices in light of the economic downturn. Most recently, he 
joined nine other university presses in endorsing a statement of 
in support of Open Access.

"I don't see myself as going against the grain, I see myself as 
doing what's right," says the 44-year-old at the helm of RUP, 
which publishes the Journal of Cell Biology (JCB), the Journal of 
Experimental Medicine (JEM), and the Journal of General 
Physiology (JGP).  Rossner's track record is proof that 
traditional, subscription-based publishers can provide public 
access and remain in business.

Rossner's innovations go beyond broadening access, extending 
toward ensuring the high quality of scientific information 
published in journals in the digital age. In 2002, Rossner 
developed a leading-edge program to screen digital images in 
manuscripts accepted for publication at RUP for possible 
manipulation -- an area of growing concern for all electronic 

Ira Mellman, one of the JCB's senior editors and vice president 
of research oncology at Genentech in South San Francisco, says 
Rossner is using publishing as a platform for progress and 
integrity in science.  "Mike is a good fiscal manager, an 
innovator, and as deeply committed to science as any laboratory 
scientist; he is an excellent model for what I think a publisher 
should be in the 21st century," he says.

"Mike Rossner is changing the nature of publishing and, along 
with it, the reality of who can access and read journals," says 
Heather Joseph, executive director of SPARC. "We're pleased to 
name him a SPARC Innovator."

The July 2009 SPARC Innovator Profile is online at 
The SPARC Innovator program recognizes advances in scholarly 
communication propelled by an individual, institution, or group. 
Typically, these advances exemplify SPARC principles by 
challenging the status quo in scholarly communication for the 
benefit of researchers, libraries, universities, and the public. 
SPARC Innovators are featured on the SPARC Web site semi-annually 
and have included R. Preston McAfee of the California Institute 
of Technology in Pasadena; Harvard University FAS; student 
leaders; Ted and Carl Bergstrom; Melissa Hagemann of the Open 
Society Institute; the University of California; and Herbert Van 
de Sompel of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. SPARC Innovators 
are selected by the SPARC staff in consultation with the SPARC 
Steering Committee.

Individuals can nominate their colleagues as potential SPARC 
Innovators at http://www.arl.org/sparc/innovator/nominate.html.

For further information or a list of previous SPARC Innovators, 
please see the SPARC Web site at http://www.arl.org/sparc.



SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), 
with SPARC Europe and SPARC Japan, is an international alliance 
of more than 800 academic and research libraries working to 
create a more open system of scholarly communication. SPARC's 
advocacy, educational, and publisher partnership programs 
encourage expanded dissemination of research. SPARC is on the Web 
at http://www.arl.org/sparc/.

Jennifer McLennan
Director of Communications