Status: Completed
Team members: Richard Dunks, Asura Enkhbayara, Allison McCartney, Maggie Jack, Kaitlin Thaney

IOI’s work is centered around providing targeted, evidence-based guidance to institutions and funders of open infrastructure to help them become wiser about where to invest. Our work also aims to surface information to advance best practice and community alignment around governance, transparency, and sustainability.

We firmly believe that to increase investment into open infrastructure to make it 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 from projects themselves - is at best disaggregated, and at worst incomplete.

This effort will build on our research from the past year to investigate available funding data as well as conduct in-depth interviews with a series of open infrastructure providers to better model their underlying costs and challenges. Our approach includes building a knowledge base of existing funding, project and grants data from a variety of public data sources, as well as qualitative research to verify those findings and further expand our understanding of project costs.

This is designed to examine the current state of publicly available fiscal data (funding information for OI projects as well as their spending information) as well as the “hidden” or under-reported costs of open infrastructure. The aim of this work is to model a system of reporting key data and findings to support those looking to invest and choose open infrastructure solutions.

Areas of focus:

  1. Development of a framework and criteria to assess & describe open infrastructure;
  2. An exploration and audit of the status-quo of public fiscal & organizational data;
  3. Investigation into the “hidden” costs of operating open infrastructures & points of resource scarcity.

Initial project selection

We set out to identify a sampling of 5-10 projects to investigate in more depth to gain additional insight into the “hidden” costs of operating open infrastructure projects and services, points of resource scarcity, and dependencies on other efforts and initiatives. Our aim is to learn more about the costs associated with supporting these projects, such as hosting and maintenance costs, staffing support, margins, vendor relationships / outsourcing, in-kind support, and breakdown of past and current resourcing. By framing the impact and benefits of open infrastructure with real costs, we can better understand the scale of the commitments required to sustain open infrastructure.

They include:

For more information, visit this blog post.

Key Criteria | Costs & Characteristics of OI providers | Research synthesis

Research outputs & synthesis