The Sparky Awards

SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)

The Value of Information Sharing

The Internet gives new meaning to the notion that, by sharing ideas, we build a better understanding of the world around us. If you use YouTube or Wikipedia, exchange gaming tips on the Internet, or have a blog, you probably well understand the value of sharing information, ideas, and knowledge.

Sharing can also be a vital tool in helping to address complex problems that challenge society – like disease, hunger, global warming, and economic disparity. The sharing of ideas gives us ways to discover, collaborate, and create in unprecedented ways.

The SPARKY Awards challenges you to illustrate in a short video presentation what you see as the value of sharing information. Use your imagination to suggest what good comes from bringing down barriers to the free exchange of information.

Here are a few takes on the theme that might inspire you:

Access to research – Why is it important for researchers, students, and the public to have access to scholarly literature? What happens when they don’t have full access to the work of others?

New opportunities – The Web and other digital technologies have created unprecedented opportunities for sharing and using information. How might technology revolutionize the way that students, researchers and scholars work? What previously unreachable goal might be possible as a result of sharing science and data online?

Information equity – Students and researchers at small colleges and in developing countries, as well as the general public, often have limited access to scientific and scholarly research results. What are the some of the effects of inequitable access to knowledge? What can we do about it?

Taxpayer access – Taxpayers fund more than $50 billion in U.S. research each year. Do taxpayers have a right to expect access to the results of the research they paid for? What might happen if this was possible?

Knowledge as a public good – The purpose of scholarship and scientific endeavor is to advance the welfare of society. Should scientific and scholarly knowledge be available to anyone who wants to learn? What might be possible if access to this knowledge becomes the norm?

Rules and Requirements

Videos must:

  • Examine the theme described above.
  • Be no more than 2 minutes in length.
  • Have been completed between January 1 and December 6, 2009.
  • Be narrated or subtitled in English.
  • Be posted on the Internet and available for public use under a Creative Commons license. Acceptable licenses include: Attribution, Attribution-NonCommercial, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike, Attribution- ShareAlike, Public Domain
  • Make your video in as high a quality as you can. The winner will be screened on a full-size movie theatre screen! You must be the original author of everything in your video or have permission to use copyright protected material. Videos using non-licensed, copyrighted musical, visual, or literary properties without legal permission are ineligible. In addition, you must have consent from any people appearing in your video.


  • The Winner will receive a check for $1000 plus a fabulous “Sparky Award” statuette.
  • The Runner Up and People’s Choice Award Winner will each receive $500.
  • At the discretion of the judges, additional Special Merit Awards may be designated.
  • Winners will be notified by approximately January 15.
  • Award checks and Statuette or Certificates will be mailed within 6-8 weeks of notification.
  • The winning videos will be widely publicized by the sponsoring organizations and screened at multiple public events across North America throughout the year after the conclusion of the contest, including the January American Library Association Midwinter Conference.

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