Today we are excited to share the first look at the Catalog of Open Infrastructure Services (COIs). This resource is the culmination of research, interviews, and analysis of a sampling of open infrastructure projects serving the research community. (Click here to access the catalog.)
We designed COIs in response to feedback gathered from institutional leaders, research practitioners, funders, and tool providers, echoing a need for more readily accessible, comprehensive, consistent, and actionable information to utilize in their decision making. The information modeled in COIs covers a variety of areas we feel are important to increase visibility on, ranging from the people involved, governance model and organizational finances, to their commitment to community engagement and transparency.
Information reflected in COIs is pulled from public data sources (with areas supplied by project leaders via interviews and surveys denoted as “self-ranked importance measure”). The data powering each project page underwent review by project leaders who participated in this process. Our sincere thanks to the project teams for their time, thoughtfulness, and participation in this work.
IOI was founded to help increase adoption and investment in the open infrastructure needed to drive equitable access and participation in research. A core premise of that is our aim to provide targeted, evidence-based guidance to institutions and funders of open infrastructure to help them become wiser about where to invest. This includes data on the usability, durability, and costs associated with our technology choices, as well as information to advance best practice and community alignment around governance, transparency, and sustainability.
We firmly believe that to make the decision to invest into open infrastructure a competitive and reliable choice for institutions, we need to better understand the underlying costs, economics, and key dimensions to guide decision-making. Data on current investment in the sector - from external funders, institutions, and projects themselves - is at best disaggregated and at worst incomplete.
We heard from over 120 members of the research community via our Future of Open Scholarship research as well as focus groups with decision makers conducted specifically for this work that more information was needed to guide these decisions in an accessible, standardized, and coordinated form. We heard that time spent individually conducting due diligence on new tools varied greatly due to external budget pressures, decision making structures, and urgency. This often led to decisions to adopt commercial offerings due to expediency and efficiency to meet the needs of the research community.
COIs is designed as a resource for funders, users, and other interested stakeholders looking to make informed decisions about the open infrastructure services available for research and scholarship. We want to support the ongoing conversations about important issues of financing, governance, and administration of open infrastructure by advancing our mutual understanding of key issues in providing important services and building an ecosystem of reliable, resilient, and community-driven infrastructure supporting a global community of researchers, scholars, and other users. We are also proud to announce that in order to achieve these goals, we are including new assessment criteria for open infrastructures that go beyond typical market-driven indicators.
Moving forward, we aspire to expand the number of services represented in the catalog and continue to iterate on the information included to increase confidence in decision making.
Where did the data come from?
The information used in this catalog comes from public sources, including various service provider websites and the grant databases of their funders. With respect to funding data, we included only the funding that could be verified from both funders and providers. We’ve not included information for funders who don’t publicly disclose the programs they fund or the amounts they provide. This includes many private companies and some private foundations who’ve not made this data publicly available. In addition, we collected information from public taxing authorities for those located in jurisdictions that make this information publicly available and are subject to the reporting requirements.
We also conducted a research process involving a survey and 1:1 interviews with service providers to collect additional information and gain further insight into this work. Some of that information is included in this catalog. All the information in COIs was shared with the providers for their review and input on the information collected. For more information on the publicly available data collected for this work, see this blog post. For more information on our research work, see this blog post.
Next steps (and how to get involved)
At IOI, we not only believe in iterative development but also community contributions, and look forward to feedback on this current version.
We will be hosting two information sessions this January to share more about our process and solicit your thoughts. Participation is open; registration is required.
We hope you’ll join us! If you have questions, please feel free to email us at email@example.com.
- Beyond open: Key criteria to assess open infrastructure: More on criteria we are tracking, designed to center community, reliability, and transformative influence in our analysis.
- Exploring costs & characteristics of open infrastructure providers: Details on the projects we've selected (and how we chose them) for a deep analysis, and our broader work to map the open infrastructure project landscape.
- Funding open infrastructure: an overview of initial work: The first in a series of posts on our initial findings from collecting and analyzing data on the funding of open infrastructure.
- Funding open infrastructure: key terms and concepts in our analysis: Key terms and a general discussion of the challenges in accessing funding data.