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Ithaka Case Studies In Sustainability (For Jisc)
 

Ithaka Case Studies In Sustainability (For Jisc)

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An overview of the case studies reviewing the hybrid business models being used to sustain digital content in the public and not-for-profit sectors in the US, Europe and Egypt.

An overview of the case studies reviewing the hybrid business models being used to sustain digital content in the public and not-for-profit sectors in the US, Europe and Egypt.

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  • These will be held in reserve for possible informal discussion after the meeting.
  • Expand reach of the case studies, hoping that project leaders will see interesting examples to follow, or improve upon. -- ARE THERE OTHER CASES THAT MIGHT BE INTERESTING TO INVESTIDATE? Use findings of the case study work to develop practical tools that project leaders and others can use to experiment to see which models may be the best fit, most worth trying. Current working includes a SUSTAINABILITY ROAD MAP, to guide project leaders in thinking through their choices. This research has also pointed to another angle of the sustainability puzzle: Funders are often present at the early stages of these digital projects. How can their role at this point serve to guide project leaders to develop sustainability plans, to choose projects whose leaders demonstrate a plan, etc…

Ithaka Case Studies In Sustainability (For Jisc) Ithaka Case Studies In Sustainability (For Jisc) Presentation Transcript

  • Sustaining Digital Resources Ithaka Case Studies in Sustainability July 2009
  • The Sustainability Problem
    • Many scholarly digital projects continue to return to funders for additional grants to support core operations once a project is up and running
    • Funding agencies are seeking ways to encourage projects to become sustainable after the initial funding period
    • Project leaders are seeking ways to support the resources they have developed, beyond grant funding
    • Since fall 2007, with the support of JISC, NEH, and NSF, Ithaka has been involved in an ongoing project with the goal of understanding the key factors in developing sustainable digital resources
  • Sustainability and Revenue Models (2008)
  • Recommendations from Sustainability and Revenue Models (2008)
    • Project leaders should not assume ongoing grant support
    • Sustainability plans should include strategies for future growth
    • Digital resources create value through their impact on users
    • Projects should consider benefits of scale through partnerships
    • In a competitive world, strategic planning is critical
    • Needs and expectations of users are constantly changing
    • Project leaders must be fully accountable for their projects
    • Need for creativity, risk-taking, and innovation
  • From Theory to Practice
    • Ithaka’s 2008 report on sustainability outlined the mindsets and strategic shifts needed for digital resources to thrive.
    • Feedback to that publication from project leaders, funding agencies, library directors, and other stakeholders indicated strong demand for on-the-ground examples of the strategies that projects employ.
    • With support from JISC, NEH, and NSF, Ithaka undertook a second round of research and analysis, this time profiling 12 projects deeply engaged in creating and sustaining digital resources. We explored the evolution of their strategy, the decision-making process of their leaders, and their cost-containment and revenue-generating models. Sustaining Digital Resources: An On-the-Ground View of Projects Today (2009) is the result of that inquiry.
  • Sustaining Digital Resources (2009)
  • Selection of Case Study Subjects
    • We cast our net to guarantee that we would be looking at a good range of representative projects spanning:
    • Different countries: 5 from the UK, 3 from Europe and Middle East, 4 from the US
    • Disciplines: Science, Humanities, Social Sciences, Cultural Heritage
    • Different types of institutional bases: libraries, archives, museums, academic departments at universities, government-sponsored initiatives, k-12 educational resources
    • Different types of revenue models: subscription, endowment, membership, author pays, licensing, institutional subsidy, government support, public/private partnerships, non-profit partnerships.
  • 5 projects from the UK
  • Cases from Germany, Egypt, and France
  • Cases from the US, funded by NEH and NSF
  • What is sustainability?
    • Sustainability is the ability to generate or gain access to the resources—financial or otherwise—needed to protect and increase the value of the content or service for those who use it
    • Supporting the personnel and non-personnel costs associated with . . .
      • Project management and administration
      • Content development
      • Technological infrastructure
      • Business planning and revenue generation
    • Ensuring that the resource remains vital and valuable to its users over time
  • What do sustainable projects do?
    • Empower project leadership to define the mission of the project and to take the steps needed to reach goals.
    • Craft a strong value proposition.
    • Engage with the needs of the audience and stakeholders.
    • Measure the full costs of the project, and find creative ways to lower direct expenses.
    • Cultivate diverse sources of revenue to cover both maintenance and ongoing enhancement.
    • Establish a realistic timeline with measureable goals, which the project is accountable for meeting.
  • What are some challenges we observed?
    • Sustainability planning needs to be built into projects from the beginning . Project leaders should think about their post-grant strategy from the outset; waiting to plan until the end of the funding period could be too late.
    • Projects should steps to understand and prioritize user needs—or their value may suffer. Active engagement is vital—or projects risk misjudging what their users need. Also, projects with revenue models that do not require financial support from users may risk becoming insulated from the needs of the community.
    • Reliance on a single revenue source puts projects at risk. Dependence on a single source of funding—particularly one outside of the project’s control, like an endowment or institutional support—can limit options should that source falter.
    • Hidden costs can obscure the real costs of operating a digital resource. In-kind contributions of resources and staff time from host institutions can obscure the true costs of operating a project, and give the false impression that it is “cheap” to run. At at the library or campus-wide level, it can add up to large inefficiencies.
  • Next Steps
    • Communicating the case study work to specific types of project leaders as well as other stakeholders (funders, university administrators, library and museum directors, etc)
    • Developing tools for project leaders, including a “Sustainability Road Map”
    • Working with funders in the US, UK and Canada to discuss what guidance and training project leaders may require
  • The report and case studies are available at: www.ithaka.org/ithaka-s-r/strategy/ithaka-case-studies-in-sustainability
    • [Following are individual slides for each case study]
  • Centre for Computing in the Humanities
    • Academic department at King’s College London focuses on research in the digital humanities. Currently engaged in 34 diverse research projects
    • Achieves economies of scale for research projects through shared infrastructure and staffing
    • In addition to generating income through research and teaching, offers consultancy services to outside organizations
    Primary contacts: Harold Short, CCH Director; Simon Tanner, Director, King’s College Digital Consultancy
  • Electronic Enlightenment
    • Online edition of correspondence from the long 18 th century
    • Funded through institutional subscriptions
    • Partnerships within an institution: started at the Voltaire Foundation, now overseen by the Bodleian Library and distributed by Oxford University Press
    Primary contact: Robert McNamee, Director of Research and Development
  • V&A Images
    • Provides digital images of objects from the Victoria & Albert Museum’s holdings for commercial, educational, and personal uses
    • Generates revenue through image licensing, custom photography, and on-demand generation of prints
    • Sustainability is dependant not just on direct costs and revenues, but also on the unit’s integration into the work—and mission—of the Museum as a whole
    Primary contact: Andrea Stern, Head of V&A Images
  • The National Archives
    • Public-private partnerships: outside partners digitize TNA content in exchange for exclusive partner benefits
    • Licensing arrangements generate some revenue but save a huge amount in upfront digitization and ongoing hosting and delivery costs
    • Demonstrates a pragmatic solution for large-scale digitization and a market-focused content selection strategy
    Primary contact: Caroline Kimbell, Head of Licensing
  • Hindawi Publishing Corporation
    • Cairo-based publisher of open access STM journals
    • Entirely Open Access and funded through Article Processing Charges to individuals and institutions
    • Sustainability model based on rapid growth through new journal launches
    • Partnerships with publishers and societies help to manage editorial process and provide marketing support; partners value Hindawi’s platform and OA expertise
    Primary contact: Paul Peters, Head of Business Development
  • DigiZeitschriften
    • The “German JSTOR”: an archive of German-origin academic journal back issues
    • Operates under a partnership model, with 14 special collections libraries contributing discipline expertise and help with content selection and rights negotiations
    • Funding model is based on institutional subscriptions
    Primary contact: Norbert Lossau, Chairman of DigiZeitschriften and Director of the Göttingen State and University Library
  • L’Institut national de l’audiovisuel ina.fr and Inamédiapro
    • French national archive of radio and television broadcasts
    • Government-supported through an audiovisual tax, plus diverse revenue streams including rights licensing, advertising, and sales of its original productions and custom DVDs
    • Exemplifies ability to use free and toll content to support both audience and revenue goals.
    Primary contact: Roei Amit, Head of Publishing, ina.fr
  • eBird
    • Joint project of Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Audubon Society with the National Science Foundation
    • Solicits observations of bird migration from bird-watching enthusiasts; aggregates, cleans, and packages the observation data for download and use by researchers
    • eBird model demonstrates key elements to address to build a thriving two-sided market of researchers and hobbyists
    Primary contact: Steve Kelling, Director of Information Science, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    • Online reference work for philosophy; entries volunteered by academics
    • Operates from an endowment funded by academic libraries, with additional direct funding from institutional host Stanford
    • Demonstrates significance of addressing user needs and building community support as a key factor to sustainability strategy
    Primary contacts: Edward Zalta, Principal Editor and Uri Nodelman, Senior Editor
  • Thesaurus Linguae Graecae
    • Online corpus of ancient and Byzantine Greek texts
    • Funded through institutional subscriptions, an endowment created with a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, and direct funding from its host, the University of California, Irvine
    • Highly specialized content which is necessary for researchers in the classics and medieval studies
    • In existence nearly 40 years
    Primary contacts: Maria Pantelia, Project Director and Betsy Shanor, Assistant Director
  • National Science Digital Library: Middle School Portal Math and Science Pathways
    • Part of the larger NSDL digital resource in science and math education funded by NSF
    • Identifies digital resources for teaching and learning, including community-based web tools such as a blog that encourages teachers to integrate current events into their instruction.
    • Exploring ways to sustain itself after grant funding ends through user-generated content and evaluation of resources.
    Primary contact: Kim Lightle, Principal Investigator, Middle School Portal
  • University of Southampton Library Digitization Initiatives
    • Constellation of hosted digitization projects, including British periodicals and parliamentary papers
    • Experimenting with a variety of revenue streams: funding from JISC, institutional memberships, and partnerships (with ProQuest and JSTOR)
    • How (or whether) to maintain infrastructure when first flow of projects has concluded?
    Primary contact: Mark Brown, University Librarian