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2021 Miles Conrad Lecturer Announced

2021 Miles Conrad Lecturer Announced

December 2020

2021 Miles Conrad Awardee

Heather Joseph Named 2021 MCL
Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC, has been named as this year's recipient of the Miles Conrad Award.

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) today announced that Heather Joseph, Executive Director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), will be the recipient of the 2021 Miles Conrad Award, a lifetime achievement award for those working in the information community.

Since her appointment as SPARC’s Executive Director  in 2005, Heather has focused the organization’s efforts on supporting the open and equitable sharing of digital articles, data, and educational resources. Under her stewardship, SPARC has become widely recognized as the leading international force for effective open access policies and practices. Among her many achievements, she leads the Alliance for Taxpayer Access and the Open Access Working Group, coalitions that provided critical advocacy for the establishment of the landmark 2008 NIH Public Access Policy and the 2013 White House Memorandum on Public Access to Federally Funded Research. Heather regularly participates in committees and collaborates on projects with U.S. federal agencies, ranging from the NIH National Advisory Committee on PubMed Central to the NIST Steering Committee to establish a Research Data Framework.  In 2015, she was appointed to the newly-formed Commerce Data Advisory Council to provide input to the Secretary of Commerce on issues surrounding open data, and in 2019, she spearheaded the establishment of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s Roundtable an Aligning Incentives to Support Open Science. Internationally, Heather has worked on initiatives and consultations to promote the open sharing of research outputs at the United Nations, The World Bank, UNESCO, and World Health Organization. Through SPARC’s global network of affiliates in Europe, Asia and Africa, she is an active collaborator on projects that support community developed and controlled solutions for knowledge sharing. 

Heather is particularly committed to promoting leadership opportunities for students and early career professionals.  Through the establishment of  SPARC’s global OpenCon initiative and its student Right to Research Coalition, she has created opportunities for students and young leaders worldwide to actively advocate for the open sharing of research outputs and educational materials.  Her community service includes terms on the Board of Directors of non-profit organizations that support the open sharing of knowledge, including PLOS, Public Resource, DuraSpace, EIFL, the Center for Open Science, and OurResearch, as well as extensive volunteer advisory support for new and developing open initiatives.    

Prior to joining SPARC, Heather spent 15 years as a publishing executive in both commercial and not-for-profit organizations. She was the publisher at the Director of Publishing for the American Society for Cell Biology, where she managed the growth of Molecular Biology of the Cell, the first journal to commit its full content to the NIH’s pioneering open access repository, PubMed Central.  She is also the founding President and COO of BioOne, a collaborative publishing organization designed to keep non-profit publishers operating independently.

A well-known and highly respected member of the global information community, Heather will join a long list of industry leaders, innovators, and opinion-makers who have received this prestigious award. She will deliver the Miles Conrad Lecture during the fully virtual NISO Plus 2021 conference, on February 24 at noon (Eastern Standard Time US & Canada).

“In selecting  Heather Joseph as the 2021 Miles Conrad awardee, the NISO Board is recognizing the tremendous impact she has had on the entire scholarly community,” said Todd Carpenter, NISO Executive Director.  “Her work as a leader in the open access movement has helped to transform the conversations around open access from ‘If’ at first, then to ‘How,’ and now to ‘When.’ Today, she is extending the power of openness to domains beyond scholarly articles.  We look forward to hearing her thoughts when she gives the Miles Conrad Lecture during the NISO Plus Conference.”

About the Miles Conrad Award

Miles Conrad was one of the founders of the National Federation of Abstracting and Indexing Services (NFAIS), and this award was established in 1965 in his memory. During the 1960s, Conrad encouraged NFAIS members — scholarly societies and government agencies — to work collaboratively in support of the space exploration program, in order to enhance the speed with which scientific knowledge could be disseminated, discovered, and acted upon. In the years that followed, NFAIS expanded its cross-disciplinary membership and played an important role in the development of online information services and resources, before merging with National Information Standards Organization (NISO) in 2019. NISO’s vision, of a world where all can benefit from the unfettered exchange of information, reflects the aims of both organizations; in awarding this prize, we are proud to continue recognizing the contributions of those whose lifetime achievements have moved our community forward.