OpenWetWare:Steering committee/Long term planning discussion

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This discussion is in the very early stages, so please contribute opinions, and don't take anything here as set in stone by any means.

Community sustainability

In light of deciding whether to pursue more funding sources for OWW, some members of the steering committee had a discussion regarding the various approaches for ensuring the long-term viability of OWW. In particular, when the current steering committee "moves on", how do we keep the site leadership fresh and active?

Jasonk 23:29, 4 May 2006 (EDT): I'll try and summarize the general opinions/suggestions from the meeting.

Effective site leadership in the future was envisioned of consisting of three components:

  1. Steering Committee
  2. Administrative/Technical
  3. Lead Evangelist/"CEO"

The responsibilities of each component would be approximately:

Steering Committee

Primary responsibility: Ensure an active, vibrant user community.

Some (but certainly not all) mechanisms for achieving this would be to spearhead new projects that:

  1. lower barriers to contributing information
  2. grow the member base
  3. make existing information more accesible

Note: presumably this group would be culled from the most active members of the community and likely be unpaid?


Primary responsibility: Keep the site software/hardware up-to-date. Implement new software and analysis (better word? see below) suggested by the steering committee/user community

This group may include folks who aren't exactly writing software, but are doing other adminstrative-type stuff. As an example: analyzing the way users are contributing information to the site (e.g. via a survey or site analytics) to provide a report to steering committee in order to seed discussion on ways to improve contributions.

Note: These would likely be (largely) paid positions.

Lead Evangelist/"CEO"

Primary responsibility: Manage/raise funds and ensure that the admin/tech and steering committee are working well together

This would be the "buck stops here" type person on grant funding, and would be responsible for ensuring that the money flows where it's needed and that there is enough of it. They would also be a "final decision maker" I suppose, but I'm not sure how many decisions would need to go through them. For instance, any community-type decision (e.g. etiquette, private pages, etc) will likely needed to be decided by a consensus among the user community/steering committee, rather than cast out from on high in order for it to be effective anyway. Would be nice to have this person be an active evangelist for the site, who has some sway in the scientific community - but that is not absolutely necessary.

Financial sustainability

See OpenWetWare:Funding for various potential funding opportunities including the potential NSF BDI grant application. (None of this is set in stone, OWW is just exploring the possibilities at this point.)