Steering Committee

unnamed (1)Nicole Allen is the Director of Open Education for the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) based in Washington, DC. In this role she leads SPARC’s work on Open Educational Resources (OER), focusing on public policy and engaging and supporting the library community on this issue. Nicole joined SPARC in 2013 already established as a leading figure in the OER movement through her previous role at the Student Public Interest Research Groups. Nicole is widely cited in the media for her work, and is considered one of the leading issue experts in the U.S. on college textbook costs.

Nicole graduated from the University of Puget Sound in 2006 with a Bachelors of Arts in Philosophy. A life-long activist, Nicole chose a career in grassroots organizing because of her first hand experience with the power of the student voice.

christinefruinChristine Fruin
Associate University Librarian for Scholarly Communications at the University of Florida‘s George A. Smathers Libraries, I lead the UF Libraries’ outreach efforts to build a scholarly communications program in support of scholarly publication reform and Open Access (OA) activities at UF.  This role includes educating the university community about OA resources and services, scholarly publication modes and reform and intellectual property issues and their impact on scholarly inquiry and instruction. In this endeavor, I also coordinate efforts to recruit, collect, showcase and preserve the scholarly output of the University of Florida. I also recently completed a one year appointment with the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries as Visiting Program Officer for Scholarly Communications and I am a frequent speaker and author on scholarly communications issues.

I earned a Juris Doctorate from the School of Law at Southern Illinois University, a master’s degree in library and information science from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at University of Illinois and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Knox College.

After graduating from law school, I practiced law for a year before joining Lexis Nexis as a case law editor. I worked for Lexis Nexis for several years and upon earning my masters in library science, I worked as an e-resources librarian for a central Illinois hospital and as a senior law librarian conducting intellectual property and business intelligence research for a large Chicago law firm before heading to the University of Illinois system to work as the director of collection and research services and scholarly communications officer for the Springfield campus’s Brookens Library.

Hammer_HeadshotNick Hammer
I am the Executive Administrator for the Public Library of Science. In this role I provide executive support to the CEO. And, as a member of the Administrative Team, I assist all staff at PLOS to achieve their goals and to ensure the success of the organization as a whole. Prior to this position, I worked for seven years in a dual role as the coordinator of administration and the development officer for the Physics Department at the University of Maryland, College Park. In this capacity, I oversaw the day-to-day operations of the department; built and maintained partnerships between the university and external networks; and spearheaded education and community outreach.



adiAdi Kamdar
I am an activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, where I specialize in patent, free speech, intermediary liability, and consumer privacy issues. One of my main projects (and chief interests) is coordinating EFF’s open access advocacy on the federal, state, and university levels. I studied History of Science at Yale University, where I was chapter president and a member of the board of directors of Students for Free Culture, an international advocacy group dedicated to promoting sharing and openness. I was formerly a member of the Right to Research Coalition’s steering committee, helping coordinate open access efforts on campuses around the world.



unnamedIryna Kuchma
I work as the Open Access programme manager at EIFL – international not-for-profit organisation collaborating with libraries and library consortia in more than 60 developing and transition countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. My responsibilities include advocacy of open access to research results and support in developing open access policies, training and support in setting up open access journals and open repositories, organizing workshops and other knowledge sharing and capacity building events. Previously I worked as an Information programme manager at the International Renaissance Foundation (part of Soros Foundation network in Ukraine) and coordinated the Arts and Culture Program there. I am a member of Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) Advisory Board, DSpace Community Advisory Team (DCAT), NDLTD (Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations) Board of Directors, the Open Library of Humanities Internationalisation Committee, and PLOS International Advisory Group. I also chair a Working Group “Repository and Repository Networks Support & Training” in the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) and a Joint ARL/CARL/COAR/LIBER Task Force on Librarians’ Competencies in Support of E-Research and Scholarly Communication.

Photo on 2014-04-09 at 1.55 PM #4Victor Ng
Hi! I’m Vic. I’m an engineer for Mozilla Corporation. I got involved with Open Access because of a rare medical condition and found that I couldn’t access information to help myself. I think Open Access is critical to doing real science – the kind where results are questioned, replicated and the work can be built upon in a meaningful way.

I’ve come to realize that the price of closed access to information leads to poor decisions – not just for healthcare, but for all public policy choices.

When I’m not hacking on software, you’ll probably find me swinging on gymnastic rings
or teaching my kids how to build a robot army.

NickSheppardNick Sheppard
As Repository Developer at Leeds Metropolitan University I am responsible for promoting Open Access and developing the institutional research management infrastructure comprising the publication management system (Symplectic Elements), the Institutional Repository and Open Journal Systems and my main interests are sustainable models of Open Access and potential synergies with open education and Open Educational Resources (OER), particularly underlying technology, software and interoperability of systems. In addition to my institutional role I am Technical Officer for the UK Council of Research Repositories (UKCoRR), sit on the Steering Group for Jorum, the national OER repository in the UK, and am a member of the LibTech committee at the Open Library of the Humanities. I have also been involved with a number of Jisc repository and infrastructure projects including SWORDv2 and UK RepositoryNet+. With increased global awareness of the benefits of Open Access, comprising disparate technologies and business models I am particularly interested in the potential of the Button as a powerful advocacy tool for the green model of Open Access, ideally through integration with Institutional Repositories – serving as a broker to institutional research staff for example.

B11 HeadshotNick Shockey is the Director of Programs and Engagement for the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) and founding director of the Right to Research Coalition (R2RC). Supported by SPARC, the R2RC is an international alliance of local, national, and international student organizations that advocate for researchers, universities, governments, and students themselves to adopt open scholarly publishing practices. Under Nick’s direction, the R2RC has grown to represent just under 7 million students in more than 100 countries around the world and has facilitated over one thousand advocacy meetings with policymakers.

Prior to joining SPARC, Nick was a student activist for the causes of Open Access and Open Educational Resources. He worked locally to make Trinity University the first small, liberal arts university in the United State to pass an institutional Open Access policy. He also worked nationally with SPARC in launching its student campaign. Nick was named a SPARC Innovator in 2007 for his work with students.



  1. […] planning for the future of the Button and building a global, diverse student team supplemented by a professional steering committee to help us make the future Button the […]

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