Membership agreement

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14 Nov 2013

Membership agreement

Input from Walter Stewart 13 November 2013

Fellow members of the interim OAB
We talked yesterday of developing a membership agreement.  We also talked that it should be comparatively simple and unchallenging from a perspective of the “legal folk” in prospective member organizations.  When I looked on line and saw the current form in use to express intention to join once incorporation as occurred, I thought it needed very little modification to be an acceptable form for use for actual joining post-incorporation.  I pass this on to you for discussion at the November 26th meeting although I shall not be able to be part of the meeting.
Since I am not having any success getting in to the wikki.  When I click on the link in Leif’s email, I get a message that it is unavailable although I am logged in.   I am sending the very slightly revised document as an attached document.  The revision is a short paragraph immediately before the signature.

Document attached! 

Groups audience: 
  • Leif Laaksonen's picture

    Author: Leif Laaksonen

    Date: 21 Nov, 2013

    Some comments on the RDA member agreement from our counsel, who has "tightened the language a bit, including to make clear that the member is committing only with respect to IP created by or behalf RDA."  


    Link to file:



  • Leif Laaksonen's picture

    Author: Leif Laaksonen

    Date: 26 Nov, 2013

    I tried this out at CNRI and got the following reactions -

    1. The membership document says nothing about what the fees will be used for.

    2. The document says "I commit my organization to supporting the aims of RDA" and does not couple the document to any stated aims.

    I think these are valid comments that could be addressed by some kind of accompanying Appendix. The aims of RDA can be a link, but the 'what are the fees for' question needs an answer. I recommend that as an agenda topic for tomorrow.


  • Leif Laaksonen's picture

    Author: Leif Laaksonen

    Date: 26 Nov, 2013

    Hi, I think these are valid points also raised by BSC legal counsel. The
    additional point made by our legal people is that the document is open ended
    with no exit clauses. We would be more comfortable with an exit clause
    allowing any party to withdraw with no reason with a reasonable advance
    notice and with no liability issues. If necessary our counsel could propose
    some adequate language for this.

    Best regards,


  • Leif Laaksonen's picture

    Author: Leif Laaksonen

    Date: 26 Nov, 2013

    Dear Leif,

    As others are sending their input, I will also send mine (understanding that it can be discussed if necessary at this evening's call).

    - As the document stands, CERN cannot sign it. "I commit my organisation" is simply too strong. As is "our organisation commits to accepting and being bound". This is not a formal response from the CERN legal service, but initial informal feedback.

    Furthermore, in the specific case of CERN, it has been discussed whether the EIROforum would not be a more appropriate body as an Organisational Member.

    This was, the RDA would have the "commitment" from these 8 organisations, which also have an influencing role over much larger communities.

    Cheers, Jamie

  • Jamie Shiers's picture

    Author: Jamie Shiers

    Date: 10 Dec, 2013

    Dear all,

    I would like to comment - again - on the Organisational Member(ship) agreement.

    Three motivations have been suggested:

    - Buy-in / commitment from the said organisations;
    - To partially subsidise the plenaries;
    - To support the RDA process (-> sustainability?).

    As I have mentioned, CERN is sending / will continue to send no less than 4 people to the plenaries. These individuals themselves account for ~100 years of experience and can tap into a much (much) wider knowledge / experience base. It is the opinion of the CERN IT department head - which I share - that this in itself is a significant commitment; much larger than a $10K annual payment would be.

    So we don't need to talk about this aspect any more.

    I am not in favour of using these fees to subsidise the events. There are ways of keeping costs down, such as in the choice of venue, which should be explored. I have never known a registration feee of e.g. $737.17 - it is always a "round number". It would be acceptable to use a round number to subsidise a small number of cases - this IMHO does not justify the $10K membership fee that is being asked of larger organisations.

    For me, the only argument that holds water is to move towards a sustainable structure. I guess we are talking about a small number of $M per year. This matches what we have seen e.g. in the FP7 and H2020 documents.

    Given the number of people who attended P1 and P2, my guess is that 100 organisations paying the $10K annual fee is currently at - or perhaps beyond - the limit of what is feasible (today).

    $1M contribution to a $5M(?) global effort is nonetheless not too bad, and could grow (by a small factor?) with time.

    The purpose of this message is not to re-kindle a debate: just to make my position clear.

    (A separate issue is the document itself: un-signable IMHO in its current state).

    Cheers, Jamie

    p.s. good news that these mails now appear on the Wiki! Thanks!

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