Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) was founded on the premise that to achieve a more equitable and accessible research ecosystem, additional investment in foundational systems, tools, and communities is needed. We have seen calls for immediate and affordable access to knowledge on the national level with the recent Nelson memo from the White House, and on the international and intergovernmental stage with the UNESCO Open Science declaration, EU Council conclusions, and more. These declarations acknowledge the critical role open science plays in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals, and the importance of developing a sustainable, equitable, and inclusive open science ecosystem.
Our work at IOI over the past two years has been dedicated to gaining a better understanding of the costs, needs, gaps, and trends in funding for research infrastructure services in order to fuel a more evidence-based approach to advancing open science and more equitable access to knowledge for all.
Now IOI is preparing to launch our 2024 Fund, which is designed to provide catalytic funding to networks serving the research community. The Fund will invest in network partners to help further the adoption and implementation of open infrastructures enabling immediate and equitable open access to data and content.
A focus on networks as key drivers of change
Our mission at IOI is centered on increasing investment in open infrastructure to further adoption. In practice, that means working closely with communities of researchers and institutional leaders as well as infrastructure providers to ensure that communities have the resources needed to successfully implement, adopt, and/or migrate to solutions that make sense for their current needs.
Networks such as library consortia, National and Regional Research and Education Networks (NRENs, RRENs), and other community-based networks serving researchers have long played a role in providing services and collective benefits to the research ecosystem. From library consortia who began as means of sharing costs for content, to NRENs who began as supports to deliver critical access to connectivity, we see tremendous promise in working with those who have established relationships serving an array of research and learning institutions, often across national borders. The network partners we are prioritizing are at the forefront of advocating and implementing shared infrastructure support to ensure their communities have affordable solutions and equitable access to research and scholarship.
Through this pilot Fund, IOI intends to:
- Partner with at least (3) networks, focusing on networks with a strong existing service relationship to a set of communities or institutions, a public commitment to open research principles, and a specific opportunity for using funds to develop open infrastructure adoption among members
- Raise $5-7M USD to support these network collaborations for 3-5 years, providing direct funding and strategic support to enable the adoption of open infrastructure for those networks and their members, with a focus on infrastructures enabling immediate and equitable open access to data and content.
- Create a mechanism to expand the pool of funders for open infrastructure, including calling for commercial service providers and others who derive significant value from the open ecosystem to reinvest in the open systems from which they profit.
How will funds be used?
Although IOI’s extensive research and community engagement (including dedicated regional research efforts and our recent collective funding pilot) have helped us understand a number of potential strategies for how funding might enable the adoption of open infrastructure, we believe that those closest to the challenge are best positioned to design and implement solutions for themselves and their communities. This Fund is designed to surface and enable solutions that meet the specific needs of networks serving the research community.
How will IOI select and diligence network partners for funding?
IOI seeks to partner with networks such as library consortia, National and Regional Research and& Education Networks (NRENs, RRENs), and other community-based networks serving the research ecosystem.
IOI will prioritize networks with a strong existing service relationship to a set of communities or institutions, a public commitment to open science and open research infrastructure, and demonstrated pathways for using funds to further open infrastructure adoption among members. We are working to define specific due diligence criteria to articulate the combination of need, readiness, and broader impact potential of the networks that will be most effective partners for this work.
In alignment with our commitment to equity and inclusion and our conviction that a global effort is essential for the health of the open research ecosystem, IOI will prioritize the inclusion of networks from diverse geographies, particularly regions historically under-resourced in open infrastructure development.
- IOI is engaged in conversations with networks, funders, and other stakeholders to further develop plans for the Fund, including due diligence criteria for network partners and projects.
- IOI is seeking funding commitments from a broad range of stakeholders, with the goal of securing $5-7 million USD for the initial cohort of network partners.
- IOI plans to deploy funding with network partners beginning in mid-late 2024.
Interested in contributing or learning more? Please contact Sarah Lang, Business Development and Partnerships Lead, at sarah [at] investinopen [dot] org.
Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) works to increase the investment in and adoption of open infrastructure to further equitable access to and participation in research. We are committed to open, collective, and iterative development, from our governance-building and stakeholder engagement activities, to our decision-making tools and the research we produce. IOI receives financial support from philanthropies, institutions, and library coalitions, and is fiscally sponsored by Code for Science & Society, a leading 501(c)3 supporting the public interest technology space. Learn more at https://investinopen.org/about.
Read more about the work behind the Fund: IOI launches fund to deepen investment in Open Infrastructure.
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