Associate University Librarian for Library Information Technology
University of Michigan
Associate University Librarian for Collections & Technologies
Within the ecosystem of open source software projects that support the preservation and access of digital collections, it is a well-known and often-observed condition that we have created a number of separate projects, each with different types of funding, different modes of governance and organizational structure, separate administration, and separate strategies. Unsurprisingly, as a result, the current “system” has a variety of redundancies and inefficiencies. For example: each project needs to re-create its own business structures and the staff to administer them; the prevalence of a membership funding model that causes competition for institutional dollars between projects; poor integration of the separate software components; reduced ability for executives at member institutions and funding agencies to assess the direction of the various software projects against their own programmatic and strategic goals. The current state of the ecosystem also means there is poor transparency into the financial operations of many projects and investments by institutions and funding agencies are often insufficient, and, at times, not always well directed. In short, there is a great deal of room for improvement. The desire to bring greater coherence to these separate communities and projects is not new. It has been expressed in various ways for a number of years. We believe that this moment is different and that there are promising signs that after years of false starts there is real progress being made in the effort to bring coherence to creating and sustaining shared infrastructure.
This session will present the work of two groups that are moving the long-hoped-for future forward to reality. The first, the Open Platform group, includes university libraries that are major funders and supporters of open source software projects. The second, the Invest in Open Infrastructure Working Group (IOIWG), is an international effort that grew out of the Joint Roadmap for Open Science Tools (JROST). The IOIWG is creating a framework for a shared strategy and agenda with input from across stakeholder communities for an open, interoperable, community-led and community-supported infrastructure for scholarship, research and education. This presentation will walk through the work of the two groups. We’ll share the work the Open Platform group has done at their first two meetings, including a draft picture of shared purpose, what would be desirable to see from a coherence model, and a draft proposal for collective commitment and action. IOIWG will outline their progress in building a shared framework for assessing infrastructure, how it is moving forward, and ways in which the broader community can get involved. We will leave ample time for discussion and debate.