At Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI), we believe that for any organization that values openness, transparency, and accountability, the structures and processes governing the organization are critical for ensuring the organization acts by its values and puts its beliefs into practice.
As part of the process of evolving our governance, we have been thinking deeply about individual power within our work and in the broader community. IOI interacts with many collaborators and stakeholders in our work. In these conversations, some individuals may have overlapping interests with parts of IOI’s strategy and operations that bias their contributions or otherwise compromise their independence, particularly when it comes to making funding and resourcing recommendations or working with external partners. This might apply to funding bodies, university leaders, members of the infrastructure community, and supporting organizations.
While these conflicts can’t be completely eliminated, we recognize that disclosing these potential conflicts in an open and transparent way helps establish accountability and builds trust. Together with our Steering Committee, we developed a Conflict of Interest Declaration and Policy. This helps us understand the potential external influence in the form of Board representation, involvement in similar initiatives, and other ties to funding and funding bodies that could interfere with the independent, reliable, and authoritative engagement we seek with our partners.
The Declaration and Policy is intended for all IOI staff, governance members, and affiliates. This enables the collection and disclosure of conflicts of interest, as well as proposes practical norms for navigating potential conflicts in real-time (e.g. in meetings, IOI-hosted events, etc).
We aspire to be transparent about these conflicts as they relate to IOI’s work. We share the Declarations of our staff, governance members, and current affiliates in this spreadsheet, which we aim to keep up to date.
Resources for building effective and accountable governance
This Declaration and Policy is part of our ongoing effort to create processes and documentation to ensure that we outline roles and responsibilities clearly, to build towards effective and accountable governance. We are committed to openly sharing our work and enabling reuse – you can find this and other documentation regarding our governance on our Research and Resources page.
In assessing the governance of open infrastructure services and evolving our own practices, we realize the need to bring additional clarity: what is good governance, and why is this important? Our research team has been looking into the literature on nonprofit governance as well as governance models in the scholarly communication and open research infrastructure spaces – we will be sharing our findings in the next month.