Announcing Invest in Open Infrastructure – Hypothesis
peter.suber's bookmarks 2019-05-16
"Today, together with a set of global partners, Hypothesis is proud to announce the formation of Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) — a new initiative to dramatically increase the amount of funding available to open scholarly infrastructure....
Projects like Hypothesis are extremely difficult to begin, grow and sustain over time. We were fortunate to have had early believers on Kickstarter, and then stalwart supporters in over the last 8 years in foundations like Sloan, Mellon, Shuttleworth, Knight, Helmsley and Omidyar. However, this foundation support is still insufficient to the longer term, larger funding required to bridge to a sustainable future for most open projects, including ours. Foundations tend to support early projects, but that support usually falls off with time. The kind of mezzanine funding that a for-profit technology might find from venture groups in later stages is simply not available within the ecosystem of non-profit, open source projects.
The core problem is that the true consumers of scholarly infrastructure — namely the researchers, scholars and their institutions and agencies which form the gross majority of users — have the means to sustain it, but lack the structure to do so. The libraries know of a few platforms that they need and provide direct support, but there are hundreds of other projects for which there is no visibility at the institutional level, because they’re still early, or because researchers rather than institutions themselves depend on them directly. Projects like Hypothesis, like any technology infrastructure trying to scale over years to maturity, need ongoing funding until sustainability can be achieved.
What is needed is a coordinating system which can identify, track and assess open infrastructure across diverse categories and constituencies and make recommendations to funders who can pool their resources to sustain it. This coordinating system is exactly the idea behind IOI...."