Minutes of meeting 3_RDA Brokering Governance WG_Business

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Research Data Alliance (RDA)
Brokering Governance Working Group
Business Models Team
AGENDA – MEETING 3 – 13/14 August 2015
Objectives of meeting 3:
 To communicate results of individual business model assessments
 To establish a strategy for defining recommendations
 To assign writing tasks for white paper
Attendees:
Sue Fyfe (co-Chair)
Lindsay Powers (Co-Chair)
Andrew Turner
Senay Habtezion
Graham Allen
Jay Pearlman
Francoise Pearlman
Karl Benedict
Kristin Milton
Rebecca Koskela
Apologies:
Bill Michener
Mairi Best
Clifford Jacobs
Stefano Nativi
AGENDA
No.
Item
Actions
1
(Lindsay)
Welcome
Introduce Kristin Milton (Sue)
Kristin is replacing Sue with the role of Acting Director
Science Data Platforms and Strategy Section at
Geoscience Australia. Background in spatial and
environmental data, open data, data access. Kristin is
looking at technology platforms for data sharing. They
have a comprehensive capability for data serving and
data acquisition.
Accept minutes of Meeting 2 – moved and accepted
2
Discussion of report framework put forward by Cliff Jacobs
In the report below, responses to the following questions should
be clear:
1. Readership Target for the report?
– RDA Board and community?
– Business operators?
– Research community?
– Agents of Change – who are they? Federal
agencies or funding sources
– Should we publish this is a journal – addressing
a generic group of software applications –
readership may be broader than a specific journal
and may include businesses that would not read
a journal – Cliff was thinking of an peerreviewed electronic journal and then reference it.
– this would be a way to distribute it effectively.
– [AT] What is the background of the reader and
what do we want them to do. What is action we
are expecting a reader to take? How have we
impacted the actions in the community? What
do we measure success by?
– [CJ] - We are identifying a risk – if we do not
solve the sustainability of the middleware form
of SW, then we may fail in the broader goals of
RDA. Here, sustainability is updated software
that is current and alive. There are a lot of
aspects to sustainability. This may include a flux
of money and the question is how is this
generated?
– [AT] what is the money flux used for? People,
software development, advocacy?
– [LP] It depends on the model that we are using
– [SF] Money for software vitality and also funds
for promotion at the global level
– [LP] community development is more important
if there is a separate hosting of sw rather than a
data facility.
– [SN] RDA Executive Committee is one of
targets, we are talking about middleware and
what is interesting is that middleware is not part
of traditional client-server pattern, there is a
three tier structure.
– [JP] RDA Board, funding agencies, user and
hosting community
– [KB] this is consistent with the different aspects
of creating software, hosting software and using
software – looking at the life cycle process. The
report should efficiently communicate to these
audiences.
2. Advocacy to move forward?
– [CJ] We need categories to write the report.
Report should define risks and possible path
forward. He assumes there will be
recommendations which may be either broad
categories or priority list. Actions must be by
those advocates to move forward
– [LP] We will converge on some level of
advocacy and recommendations for models. It
depends on the model/s recommended who we
will advocate to.
– [CJ] Even with a recommendation, the onus falls
on the current software development. For
example, Jay and Stefano will have to take
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action because they are responsible for
maintaining their current brokering software into
the future. Who will take the action? Is it all
three groups
[KM] Should we address future states on
interoperability?
[SF] If there was a community that strongly
supports “this” (brokering middleware and
services as a fundamental enabler), then they
could define steps forward. Sue suggests that the
data repository community is a critical
component.
[LP] Brokerage is a broad term and not a specific
software – these are models that address
middleware in a broader sense.
[CJ] middleware as NetCDF may be an example
of middleware that have a path for sustainment,
but there may be others that do not have a path
currently
[SN] Agrees there is a more general definition of
middleware that we are addressing but brokerage
middleware is a new actor and we need to
advocate for it in a different way.
[LP] One outcome of the white paper that could
be brought to other communities such as GEO,
Belmont Forum, WDS for engaging and
advocating the business model. It would be good
to get a consortium of umbrella organizations to
sign on to a statement of commitment.
[KM] We could advocate an architectural
approach e.g. use of open standards to support
interoperability regardless of platform
[KB] Let’s differentiate between the business
model and the architecture. Focus on architecture
that can be supported in a broad sense under a
variety of business models
[AT] we need to go beyond a specific
implementation and address the broader issue.
[SN] we should try to remain in a neutral
position on technology – we do not need to
address the world of software, but stay focused
on the class of software which operates as
middleware. The challenging part is that we are
addressing a new breed of SW in middleware
[LP] Middleware serves a broad range of
communities (not evenly) and this is a harder
demand as local applications are generally
adapted by the appropriate community. Its hard
to find a universal home for brokering
middleware.
– [CJ] We want to be careful to not broaden the
discussion too much. Will this make the
convergence to a business model too complex?
– [AT] NetCDF is a format and interfaces rather
than a comprehensive middleware.
– [SN] Gave a definition of broker – a technology
that brings many other technologies together and we want to ask how broad we want to
address the general class of middleware. We can
start with the broker as a way to converge the
discussion and then put sentences in the report
that extension of the report can address the
broader middleware. This would allow
interoperability to be a focus in addition to
middleware.
– Consensus – If approach the analysis in a
systematic way, then the analysis may be
applicable for a broader range of middleware.
– Focus on brokering and then address in some
sentences the broader applications
3. User Target (community) for the “business”?
4. What business model will provide a sustainable solution
for middleware (brokering)?
5. Is this business model more broadly applicable to the
multiple customer bases?
6. What metrics can be defined for model assessment?
7. ????
3
Brief overview of individual business models
a. Information and Ad sales Bill (1) plus Mairi Best?
b. Product (document sales) – combine with Corporate
Support below
 Neither present – to be done
c. Corporate Support Bill (2) plus Senay Habtezion?
Karl Benedict – starting up and Karl and Senay
will contact Bill.
d. “Software as a Service” (SaaS) – refer to and discuss
attached “Software as a Service Pricing Strategies”
for context Jay (2) Andrew (1?)
 Looking at SaaS business model. Looking at
what makes SaaS unique. Reviewed the
definition from the vugraphs. Looking at
pricing models = capacity based, feature
based, time based model, use case model,
revenue sharing model (kick start), charging
for user support, level of service model –
 Comparing these against successful and
failure use cases
 Implementation considerations – obstacles
that may be unique to a SaaS and legal and
policy issues.
 [CJ] – SaaS is a different approach than is
outlined in the paper. He assumed that SaaS
was the key process and then we were
addressing revenue models for SaaS.
 [AT] are we looking at the end user and the
the level of the pockets.
 [SF] The ability to provide a revenue model
is an important part of the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’
discussion and fits into the outline that was
created by Cliff.
 [SH] Do we have specific IP and legal issues
that will be addressed?
 [AT] Issues come when crossing national
and international boundaries.
 [SH] agreed to write a short piece on legal
and intellectual property considerations for
the paper
 [KB] the IP and legal may shape certain
aspects of the model discussion
e. Government Funding Cliff (1) Sue (1) plus
Graham Allen?
 [CJ] The discussion on government funding
– it can be good, but quite variable. If an
awardee is asked to fund a software service,
there is a risk to sustainability. Grants are
flexible and that is a benefit. If the
government will agree to direct long term
support of middleware, this is attractive.
 [SF] Australian Govt funding supported the
Australian National Data Service to open and
stimulate research data management, open
data sharing and eResearch innovation. Ten
years is a long time for government funding
and now the research funding is ending and
the work is at risk. Government funding is
not really sustainable over the long term.
 [CJ] NSF is not a mission oriented agency
and is support research, but do not have a
chartered applications mission.
 [SF] It is this reason that a repository support
becomes important.
 [CJ&SF] There must be a statement that
there are two types of agencies – mission and
funding support; Govt funding is great for
kicking off an area but there are limitations
when addressing long term development and
sustainability.

[LP] there are differences between nations on
this topic and this should be noted and
commented upon.
f. Not for profit using grants for startup ??
g. Consortium model Lindsay (1) Cliff (2)
 [LP] There needs to be strong leadership for
a consortium, strong relationships and a
critical mass of users and members. There is
a need for significant resources for staff and
further development. Capability can be built
internally or subcontracted to members.
Requires ongoing and significant community
development. A consortium needs a home
and a place where infrastructure can be
housed. There is not a use case that LP has
seen. – most of the consortia are not focused
on long term sustainment, they develop SW
but do not maintain it.
 [CJ] One type of consortium draws on
membership for development. UCAR is also
a consortia of a different type, CUAHsi,
OGC, UCAR could be looked at as
examples.

h. Federal data facility guardianship Lindsay (1) Cliff
(2) plus Graham Allen?
 Adopting externally (or internally) developed
software which is then adopted for user
support.
 [CJ] NOAA weather forecasting software
tends not to interface with the research
community. There are cases where NOAA
might provide the SW to NCAR, but also
tells NCAR that they have responsibility to
the community for its operations and
outcomes.
 [LP] There is a need to have an advocacy for
sustainability and the vision to reach beyond
their normal user base. Moving beyond the
traditional data facilities (IRIS, UNAVCO,
…) there are other classes of facilities such
as DataOne or EarthCube or Belmont Forum
– These may be conceptual homes for a
future service.
 [CJ] FFRDC would be excellent places to
look. 20 0f 40 FFRDC deal with atmospheric
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4
5
data. DOE services a broader range of
environmental issues.
[AT] FFRDC are internally and externally
competitive and may be more like a
consultancy. Could we address an
organization such as PNW Labs.
[CJ] He has a list and background on
FFRDCs and can offer it to the library.
Defining recommendations - not ready to address this yet (also,
it was not discussed due to limitations of time)
Schedule and tasking for preparation of white paper (We are
already behind schedule)
 Introduction – Community requirements
 Standardizing business model analysis inputs
 Synthesis and rubric figures
 Synthesis of recommendations
Are we sticking with Cliff’s outline for each section? Andrew
suggests that we can go that direction and then resort section as
necessary. There is general agreement to move forward this
way. Sue will continue compiling material into the draft.
Sue noted that papers and reference material is available on the
RDA Broker WG file area. General agreement to continue to do
this.
Stefano offered to circulate a definition of the broker
Senay will look at legal and policy.
All sections of the report in draft should be available for the
next meeting in two weeks.
6
Date for next meeting – meeting close
Can we meet again in two weeks to solidify the
document? There is agreement. Lindsay will issue a
doodle poll tomorrow morning.
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