Funding Open Infrastructure as a Public Utility: A Preliminary Investigation in Water Utility Funding | Invest in Open Infrastructure, Jan 23, 2023

“In our engagements with infrastructure service providers, one of their biggest challenges we’ve repeatedly heard is the need for more stable funding for infrastructure services. Providers are developing more innovative strategies to sustain their work. However, through our conversations and analysis of funding trends, it became apparent that funding in the open infrastructure space remains largely unpredictable, and many providers continue to search for more stable and reliable sources of revenue to ensure the sustainability of the services they provide. In understanding how a stable and reliable model for funding open infrastructure in research and scholarly communication could be architected, we looked at how public utilities, in particular water utilities, are funded around the world. Today, we share a report from our preliminary investigation into water utility funding. Drawing on some of the preeminent literature and guidance on the topic from widely respected organizations (the OECD, WHO, and IRC), we highlight some key lessons for funding a robust infrastructure of open services. Key to this is understanding knowledge as a public good, like water, electricity, and natural gas, and how these vital public goods are best funded for reliable, robust, and sustainable supply in the long term….”

https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7076158

Funders Summit 2022: Key Lessons | Invest in Open Infrastructure | Jan 13, 2023

“…Throughout the event, we were very grateful to have Bianca Kramer, Katherine Skinner, and Elena Denaro acting as our “learning partners”. They observed and noted the dynamics and conversations as the event progressed. Below, we share our event reflections as an asynchronous discussion between Bianca, Katherine, and Emmy Tsang, IOI’s Engagement Lead.

Bright spots — There’s an appetite for new strategies for investing. Katherine: The positive tempo and tone and the deep participation by many of the attendees signal that there is a hunger for these discussions and that IOI is a team that can provide the grounding (research), the convening space, and the facilitation to help that process forward. The Summit provided building blocks for future conversations and actions. Katherine: This event helped establish shared knowledge and built some connections. It opened a vibrant space for discussion over what information, organized in what ways, might help to inform decision making around funding. Some sessions gave connection points between participants and interest in use cases. Can this initial energy be built upon so that it moves from passive interest to active opinions? What information and settings could enable this transition to happen, even for a handful of the participants?

Tensions — The need to define terms. Katherine: One of the consistent themes throughout the event was the marking of troublesome terms and ones that different participants may have been using differently from one another. Terms that arose included Open, Infrastructure, Governance, Community (along with Community-based, Community-led, Community-governed, and Community-owned), Data, Equitable, Diversity, Funders, Incentive. Values, Venture Capital, ROI, Transparency, Nonprofit/not-for-profit, Critical Infrastructure, etc. For the future, it might be helpful to pose the question “why do we need strong definitions in order to move forward and how do we build strong-enough definitions so that this isn’t a continued barrier?”. The sense of missing definitions stalls action – it also points to some sense of fear (of being misunderstood, of funding the wrong thing, of being led astray by data)….”

New project: Open science cloud infrastructure and training for communities in Latin America and Africa

“We are excited to share that the grant proposal that the IOI team contributed to, titled “A Collaborative Interactive Computing Service Model for Global Communities”, has been awarded funding by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative….

The goal of this proposal is to create a collaborative cloud infrastructure service that enables community-based cloud-native workflows in the biosciences. Together with our collaborators, we will promote values of open and inclusive community practices, infrastructure that enables these practices, and a “train-the-trainers” approach that empowers community leaders to share expertise in cloud infrastructure with others in their communities. Our focus will be on communities in Latin America and Africa, and we hope to learn how this model could be extended to other global communities that are historically marginalized from large-scale scientific infrastructure projects….”

Financial Health of Nonprofits in Research and Scholarship: What’s Working and What Needs Improvement? | Invest in Open Infrastructure, 2 December 2022

“As an enabler and a funder in open infrastructure, one of our key goals at Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) is to conduct research to better understand and articulate the foundational needs for open infrastructure services, such that they are viable in the short-term and sustainable in the long term. To this end, in this investigation, we worked to design and test measures that will enable us to better understand the financial health of nonprofit providers and enablers in this space. In this report, we outlined key patterns we observed in the nonprofits’ financial risk and strengths and resource allocation, and clarified sector needs for both funders and providers such that resources can be better allocated….”

What we are working on: 2022-12-02 | Invest in Open Infrastructure

“What we are working on: We published a report from our exploration into the financial health of nonprofits in research and scholarship. Using financial ratio analysis, we conducted a baseline assessment on the financial health of nonprofit organizations in the open scholarship and research ecosystem and explored general guidelines for decision makers to improve the financial health of organizations they fund – find out more in this blog post.

We shared a summary and resources from our Funders Summit. Last month, we brought together 80 funders, budget holders, and other key stakeholders involved in the financing and resourcing of open infrastructure to discuss what to fund in open infrastructure for research and scholarship and how to fund it. Access slides, recordings, and other related resources from the Summit from this blog post.

We are hiring a Business Development and Partnership Lead. This role will be instrumental to the next phase of IOI’s growth and development as we look to diversify our funding modes and streams, as well as grow uptake and investment of open infrastructure by institutions and funders globally. More details and application link on this page….”

Invest in Open Infrastructure Funders Summit 2022: Summary and resources | 29 November 2022

“Between October 31 and November 4, 2022, Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) organized our first Funders Summit, where we brought together over 80 funders, budget holders, and other key stakeholders involved in the financing and resourcing of open infrastructure to collaboratively explore and discuss a shared framework for investment in open research infrastructure and test out building an alternative funding mechanism. As outlined in our strategic plan, we recognize the need for global cooperation and coordination to increase and sustain open infrastructure investment at an ecosystem-wide level. In our many conversations with stakeholders throughout the past years, we have also come to understand the desire for more evidence-based strategic guidance and recommendations for funders looking to invest more meaningfully in open infrastructure, as well as the need to test new models and interventions. In organizing this Summit, we aimed to: Go beyond the “usual suspects”, to bring together diverse stakeholders from around the world, from those representing inter-governmental organizations to those from the broader digital and/or public infrastructure space. Share key research and data to spark discussions and challenge assumptions on what to fund and how to fund. Create a safe space for experimentation, to test out an alternative means to collectively fund open infrastructure and for all participants – including IOI – to learn from the experience. Below, we share a summary of the discussions at the Summit, as well as links to recordings, slides, and other related resources. We’ll reflect on the collective fund pilot run during the Summit and key lessons we learnt in the following weeks….

The shared notes and complete recordings remain accessible to Summit participants. The links and ways to access these additional artefacts can be found on our HackMD page.” 

https://hackmd.io/@investinopen/Funders-Summit-2022

Open Infrastructure Tracking Project (@oitp_ioi@indieweb.social) – Indieweb.Social

Dissemination via Indieweb.Social (an instance of Mastodon) of the Open Infrastructure Tracking Project (OITP), maintained by Invest in Open Infrastructure. Much of OITP’s content comes from the Open Access Tracking Project. OITP runs on TagTeam software. 

OITP can also be found on Twitter: https://twitter.com/oitp_ioi

 

 

What we are working on: 2022-11-04 | Invest in Open Infrastructure

“We hosted our first Funders Summit. More than 60 participants joined us in discussing why, how, and what to fund in open infrastructure. We look forward to sharing out more from the Summit in the next few weeks!

We announced the launch of a fund to further investment in open infrastructure globally. The fund will serve to catalyze and deepen investment in under-resourced areas, increase and expand the pool of funders of open infrastructure, and activate a mechanism for bold, higher-risk investments. Over the course of the next year, we will be hosting invited discussions and launching a Community Investment Council to bring transparency and accountability to fund stewardship. You can register your interest to join those conversations via this short survey….”

IOI Community Investment Council: Express your interest | November 2022 | Invest in Open Infrastructure

“Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) is excited to announce that we will be launching a fund to further investment in open infrastructure. The fund will go live in early 2024 and provide targeted support to further our mission to sustain effective digital infrastructure needed for open knowledge to flourish. Read our announcement for more information: https://investinopen.org/blog/ioi-launches-fund-to-deepen-investment-in-open-infrastructure/

The fund will serve as a means to further the following aims: Catalyze and deepen investment in under-resourced areas, addressing gaps that current funding mechanisms fail to support, enhancing access to funding to services outside of the Global North, and drive investment to enhance a more representative and accessible ecosystem. Increase and expand the pool of funders of open infrastructure, including calling for those who extract significant value from the open ecosystem to reinvest in the open systems from which they profit. Activate a mechanism for bold, higher risk investments, including exploring community investment in current infrastructure, to counter the increased corporate control of tools and technologies.

Over the course of 2023, IOI will be sharing more about our plans for the fund, and we will also be launching a Community Investment Council. The Council will bring transparency and accountability to fund stewardship, to further build on our efforts to design values-aligned ways to debias funding decisions. You can register your interest to join those conversations via this short survey….”

IOI launches fund to deepen investment in Open Infrastructure | 1 November 2022

“Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) is excited to announce that it will be launching a fund to further investment in open infrastructure globally. The fund will go live in early 2024 and provide targeted support to further our mission to sustain effective digital infrastructure needed for open knowledge to flourish. … The fund was announced as part of IOI’s Funders Summit, a gathering of key stakeholders involved in financing and resourcing open infrastructure. It will serve as a means to further the following aims:

Catalyze and deepen investment in under-resourced areas, addressing gaps that current funding mechanisms fail to support, enhancing access to funding to communities outside of the Global North, and driving investment to enhance a more representative and accessible ecosystem.
Increase and expand the pool of funders of open infrastructure, including calling for those who extract significant value from the open ecosystem to reinvest in the open systems from which they profit.
Activate a mechanism for bold, higher-risk investments, including exploring community investment in current infrastructure, to counter the increased corporate control of tools and technologies….

IOI’s fund builds on existing momentum to increase investment for critical, digital, open infrastructure, as seen with the recent commitment by leaders to advance and invest in the use of digital public goods such as open source software, Germany’s launch of the Sovereign Tech Fund to support vital and stable open source technologies, and continued efforts from organizations such as the Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS).

Over the course of next year, IOI will be sharing more about its plans for the fund via a series of invited discussions. They will also be launching a Community Investment Council to bring transparency and accountability to fund stewardship, to further build on their efforts to design values-aligned ways to de-bias funding decisions. You can register your interest to join those conversations via this short survey.”

What we are working on: 2022-10-21 | Invest in Open Infrastructure

“We’re preparing for our Funders Summit, October 31 – November 4. We’ve confirmed a list of speakers from 360Giving, GivingTuesday, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Wellcome Trust, Simons Foundation, and other stakeholders involved in the financing and resourcing of open infrastructure. We are also finalizing a programme that aims to facilitate the collective shaping of a funding mechanism. Please email contact [at] investinopen [dot] org for an invitation if you’d like to join us!

We welcomed Naomi Penfold and Tim Elfenbein to our team! Naomi joins us as a full-time research data analyst – she will be working on building upon the preprint cause research that she has previously worked on. As a research affiliate, Tim will be exploring the importance of labour in developing and maintaining open infrastructure….”

Why and How to Invest in Open Research Infrastructure? “VIVO Talks!” with Emmy Tsang | Oct 13, 2022 | Berlin University Alliance

“Research technology and infrastructure are to be open and community-owned, for science to thrive. This is why the non-profit initiative “Invest in Open Infrastructure” is dedicated to improve funding for open technologies supporting research and scholarship. Emmy Tsang, Engagement Lead at “Invest in Open Infrastructure”, points out what makes an infrastructure open and sustainable and how the Berlin University Alliance can be inspired by their efforts to build a sustainable, collaborative research ecosystem….”

What we are working on: 2022-10-07 | Invest in Open Infrastructure

“…What we are working on: We shared findings from our preliminary investigation into supporting open infrastructure for preprints. In exploring preprint services and infrastructure as a case study for how we can support critical research infrastructure, we conducted this preliminary investigation to ask: what is the current situation with preprints and open infrastructure for them, and how could IOI pursue work to further investment and sustain activities in this space? Read our report to find out more….

We are organizing our first Funders Summit, Oct 31 – Nov 4, online! This convening aims to bring together funders, budget holders, and key stakeholders involved in the financing and resourcing of open infrastructure. If you’re interested in joining us, please reach out to contact [at] investinopen [dot] org for an invitation….”

IOI Funders Summit 2022 | Invest in Open Infrastructure | October 31-November 4

“Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) is hosting its first Funders Summit, happening October 31-November 4, 2022. This invite-only event will occur online, and is open to those involved in the financing and resourcing of open infrastructure. Over the course of the week, participants will work with IOI to help shape the pilot of a collective funding mechanism for open infrastructure. You will: Discuss funding trends in open infrastructure; Explore collective funding mechanisms and their feasibilities; and Work together with other participants to shape a first iteration of a collective funding mechanism for open infrastructure….The programme is designed for us to work together, through reflection and discussions, to shape the pilot for a collective funding mechanism for open infrastructure. IOI will lead in committing $100,000 USD to this pilot. We are seeking additional co-investment and commitment from partners who would like to join us in investing in the open infrastructure necessary for research to thrive. Interested in learning more? Email us at contribute [at] investinopen [dot] org. If you’re interested in joining us, please email contact [at] investinopen [dot] org for an invitation….”