Org. membership in the RDA as a "subscription" / benefits of org. membership

27 Nov 2013
Groups audience: 

Dear colleagues,
As I only joined the initial OAB discussion yesterday, I apologize if
some of this was already discussed and resolved, or I misunderstood
something - I am writing about the idea of characterizing organizational
membership in the RDA as a "subscription." If I understood Larry
correctly, this would be intended to appeal in part to libraries; I
think it might actually backfire for that purpose, based on the following:
Academic/research libraries are often also institutional members (often
along with other types of institutions) of other organizations that
further developments in a critical area for them; for example, NISO
, DataCite
, or DDI Alliance
. I had no
trouble convincing our University Librarian that organizational
membership in RDA would be worthwhile, based on the argument that
"academic libraries have long been at the forefront of promoting access
to, and interoperability of, digital information assets, and research
data is a type of digital information that, while relatively new to them
to deal with, equally warrants the support of research libraries." - and
that the RDA is an important emerging player in this domain.
However, if organizational membership is "packaged" as subscribing to
something, the focus is easily drawn to what "product(s)" it is that an
institution subscribes to (newsletters? databases with proprietary
information? standards? etc.), whether there are alternatives to that,
how the cost and the logic for its calculation compares to competitors',
etc. An institutional "subscription" may well also compete for the same
pot of funding with established and other potential new subscriptions to
information sources, at least in academic libraries. Lastly, there may
be an expectation of stability and development in the particular
products, which are not easily predicted or described in RDA for the
future. So that's my EUR0.02 worth on calling a membership a
membership, and not a subscription.
Yesterday's online discussion also touched upon what the benefits of
organizational membership should be. One thought: being allowed to
dispatch /one /person to any RDA Plenary at /no registration cost/ for
the "< than 50 employees" tier; /two /persons for the "50 and <250
employees" tier; and /three (or more?)/ for the ">250 employees" tier.
That would make org. membership also an easier sell in that the costs of
plenary attendance are controlled/predictable insofar as they are
included in membership cost.
One final thought - on the RDA Organisational Membership page
, the
spelling of "organi...ation" should be consistently with an s or a z.
If RDA become a legal entity in the UK, that would be an (additional)
argument for the British English spelling, I think.
Sincerely,
--
Stefan Kramer
Research Data Librarian
American University
4400 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20016, USA
***@***.***
+1-202-885-3844
www.american.edu/profiles/faculty/skramer.cfm

  • Laurel Haak's picture

    Author: Laurel Haak

    Date: 27 Nov, 2013

    Stefan,
    I am in agreement with your comments. However, I did want to add that
    federal funders generally do not sign onto membership agreements. It may be
    wise to think about membership and/or subscription agreements and let folks
    sign on to which version is most appropriate for their needs.
    -Laure
    Laurel L. Haak, PhD
    Executive Director, ORCID
    ***@***.***
    +1-301-922-9062
    http://orcid.org
    http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5109-3700
    From: StefanKramer <***@***.***>
    Reply-To: <***@***.***-groups.org>
    Date: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 11:24 AM
    To: <***@***.***-groups.org>
    Subject: [rda-oab] Org. membership in the RDA as a "subscription" /
    benefits of org. membership
    Dear colleagues,
    As I only joined the initial OAB discussion yesterday, I apologize if some
    of this was already discussed and resolved, or I misunderstood something - I
    am writing about the idea of characterizing organizational membership in the
    RDA as a "subscription." If I understood Larry correctly, this would be
    intended to appeal in part to libraries; I think it might actually backfire
    for that purpose, based on the following:
    Academic/research libraries are often also institutional members (often
    along with other types of institutions) of other organizations that further
    developments in a critical area for them; for example, NISO
    , DataCite
    , or DDI Alliance
    . I had no trouble
    convincing our University Librarian that organizational membership in RDA
    would be worthwhile, based on the argument that "academic libraries have
    long been at the forefront of promoting access to, and interoperability of,
    digital information assets, and research data is a type of digital
    information that, while relatively new to them to deal with, equally
    warrants the support of research libraries." - and that the RDA is an
    important emerging player in this domain.
    However, if organizational membership is "packaged" as subscribing to
    something, the focus is easily drawn to what "product(s)" it is that an
    institution subscribes to (newsletters? databases with proprietary
    information? standards? etc.), whether there are alternatives to that, how
    the cost and the logic for its calculation compares to competitors', etc.
    An institutional "subscription" may well also compete for the same pot of
    funding with established and other potential new subscriptions to
    information sources, at least in academic libraries. Lastly, there may be
    an expectation of stability and development in the particular products,
    which are not easily predicted or described in RDA for the future. So
    that's my €0.02 worth on calling a membership a membership, and not a
    subscription.
    Yesterday's online discussion also touched upon what the benefits of
    organizational membership should be. One thought: being allowed to dispatch
    one person to any RDA Plenary at no registration cost for the "< than 50
    employees" tier; two persons for the "50 and <250 employees" tier; and three
    (or more?) for the ">250 employees" tier. That would make org. membership
    also an easier sell in that the costs of plenary attendance are
    controlled/predictable insofar as they are included in membership cost.
    One final thought - on the RDA Organisational Membership page
    , the spelling
    of "organi...ation" should be consistently with an s or a z. If RDA become
    a legal entity in the UK, that would be an (additional) argument for the
    British English spelling, I think.
    Sincerely,
    --
    Stefan Kramer
    Research Data Librarian
    American University
    4400 Massachusetts Ave NW
    Washington, DC 20016, USA
    ***@***.***
    +1-202-885-3844
    www.american.edu/profiles/faculty/skramer.cfm

    --
    Full post:
    http://www.rd-alliance.org/org-membership-rda-subscription-benefits-org-...
    ership.html
    Manage my subscriptions: http://www.rd-alliance.org/mailinglist
    Stop emails for this post:
    http://www.rd-alliance.org/mailinglist/unsubscribe/1033

  • Larry Lannom's picture

    Author: Larry Lannom

    Date: 01 Dec, 2013

    Stefan and all,
    The subscription idea first surfaced in the original OAB Task Force when Ross Wilkinson surveyed some likely Australian libraries and subscription was their preferred approach. But it was not seen as simply a gimmick - something would have to be produced and delivered, which is a possible downside of the subscription approach as it will be an added burden on the Secretariat. The primary upside is the assumed simplicity of the transaction. The subscribers are not agreeing to anything other than paying for a delivered product, so it becomes a budget decision instead of a legal decision.
    The potential membership benefits that the Task Force discussed included special briefings at the Plenaries and some degree of recognition on the web site or in publications.
    For some organizations the membership fees are substantial and form a significant income source. For RDA my sense is that membership fees are more a matter of getting organizations to have some skin in the game. There is also a desire to keep RDA meeting fees as low as possible so that they don't present a barrier to attendance, which is why I think that any membership income should go into keeping down the fees for attending the Plenaries.
    Larry

  • Larry Lannom's picture

    Author: Larry Lannom

    Date: 01 Dec, 2013

    Stefan and all,
    The subscription idea first surfaced in the original OAB Task Force when Ross Wilkinson surveyed some likely Australian libraries and subscription was their preferred approach. But it was not seen as simply a gimmick - something would have to be produced and delivered, which is a possible downside of the subscription approach as it will be an added burden on the Secretariat. The primary upside is the assumed simplicity of the transaction. The subscribers are not agreeing to anything other than paying for a delivered product, so it becomes a budget decision instead of a legal decision.
    The potential membership benefits that the Task Force discussed included special briefings at the Plenaries and some degree of recognition on the web site or in publications.
    For some organizations the membership fees are substantial and form a significant income source. For RDA my sense is that membership fees are more a matter of getting organizations to have some skin in the game. There is also a desire to keep RDA meeting fees as low as possible so that they don't present a barrier to attendance, which is why I think that any membership income should go into keeping down the fees for attending the Plenaries.
    Larry

submit a comment