Proposed Financial Scenarios
ADHO Implementation Committee
Financial Model Recommendations
¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Version 2.2
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 This document was prepared by the ADHO Implementation Committee (IC) for the ADHO Steering Committee following the guidance of the ADHO Governance Proposals and other documents. It is a recommendation for how ADHO finances could be governed. It is shared with all so that we can get feedback and improve the recommendations. To help us we ask that you please add comments to this post or channel feedback through your Constituent Organization.
¶ 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 This document is a step towards replacing parts of the Governance Protocol with Bylaws and/or Protocols. See our Roadmap for the other steps. The idea is that there should be a public consultation with feedback channelled through the Constituent Organizations (COs) after which the recommendation will go to the Steering Committee which will review and choose/adapt one of the scenarios below (or send it back to the IC for more scenarios). Once a scenario has been decided the IC will prepare the appropriate documents like bylaws and protocols for the SC and final approval.
¶ 4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 See Appendix A for a glossary of relevant acronyms.
¶ 5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 The proposed scenarios below were developed based on these principles:
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- The Mission of ADHO is to provide support for shared activities in the Digital Humanities on behalf of the Constituent Organizations (COs). These can take the form of shared infrastructure (web sites, journals), shared activities (annual conference), or projects that have a defined lifespan.
- The members of ADHO are therefore the COs and it is the COs that ADHO serves. ADHO does not serve the members of the COs directly except through the participation of the COs in ADHO’s administrative bodies.
- The ADHO structure has to be adapted so it can scale as new and different COs join. This means focusing on the efficiencies of shared infrastructure/activities. ADHO should avoid initiating things independently from COs.
- The ADHO structure has to be adapted so that membership in an ADHO CO does not depend on a subscription to Digital Scholarship in the Humanities (or even going through the Oxford University Press site) as was the case. The COs should be able to keep the flexibility to enroll and serve their members as they see fit while still being able to collaborate through ADHO when they so desire. That said, the institutional subscriptions to DSH are important to the financial health of ADHO so memberships should be encouraged where appropriate.
- ADHO should beware of initiating activities that don’t arise from the COs. Its sole purpose is to support COs. Wherever practical, all infrastructure, activities and projects supported should be proposed by, and managed by one or more COs and not by ADHO itself.
- The COB decides what are the shared services for support. Proposals for new infrastructure, activities and projects should come to the COB from a CO with at least one other CO as a seconder. They should include a discussion of outcomes, a timeline, the use of existing services, and an itemized budget. They should be discussed and voted on by the COB. If there are budgetary implications then the Executive needs to account for the activity in the next budget.
¶ 7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 In light of the principles we drew from documents and discussion we propose some general recommendations and two scenarios in no particular order.
- ¶ 8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 15
- ADHO should be funded to support only shared infrastructure, activities and projects on behalf of COs. The shared infrastructure, activities and projects currently includes items like the annual conference, shared computing infrastructure, selected publication venues, prizes, and scholarships. In general ADHO should focus on supporting only shared and ongoing infrastructure/activities, but it might also support selected time-limited projects led by COs too (e.g. the launch of a new journal or conference).
- The COB is responsible for budgetary decisions for ADHO. Each year prior to the annual COB meeting, the Executive would present an Annual Budget for the next year for discussion and amendment. This budget would cover the costs for the core infrastructure/activities, the management of ADHO costs, costs for any shared projects that have been approved, and a budget line for unforseen costs. This budget would be voted upon, and if needed, amended, by the COB. In many cases funds would then be transferred to the COs that are leading the infrastructure, activity or project. The transfer of funds should be a priority of the ADHO Treasurer so as to facilitate CO activity.
- For every infrastructure/activity and project that ADHO funds and a CO manages there should be a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) that should be signed by the President of ADHO and the President of the relevant CO. This MoA should cover the nature of the activity, the amount of support, the duration of the support, and any agreed upon details.
- ADHO should avoid making commitments to new forms of core infrastructure that must be supported on an ongoing basis. Instead ADHO should fund activities first as time-limited projects and then review them before committing to ongoing support.
- Any funds left over from the income after the ADHO budget would be redistributed to the COs based on the percentage of members paying the service fee. ADHO should aim to redistribute as much as possible, as its mission is to support COs not replace them. This will ideally mean that the minimal service fees will typically be returned to the COs along with a portion of the institutional fees, but that could change.
- The COs keep any funds that they get from their membership over and above the mandatory service fee. Likewise the COs keep any fees they collect for their own conferences or other activities.
- The COs can run their own membership systems as long as they collect the approved minimal service schedule of fees and report to ADHO in a timely fashion. If a CO doesn’t want to run their own system they can take advantage of the existing Oxford University Press system (or a membership system from someone else.) COs can set a higher membership fee, in which case they would keep the difference. (Note that the COs should be getting the minimal fee back anyway according to fiscal projections.)
- Membership systems run by ADHO (Oxford University Press) or COs should encourage prospective members to choose the CO to which they primarily align for the purpose of the redistribution of ADHO funds. There should no longer be options for belonging to more than one CO on the Oxford University Press site, at least for the purposes of ADHO.
- The COs have to report annually on the individual members that have paid the minimal service fee. The reports on paid-up members are what ADHO will use to redistribute funds. As there is the possibility of individuals being members of more than one CO there needs to be a way to count such shared members. In the event that someone has paid the fee to more than one CO their alignment could be divided among the COs. For example, if someone aligns with two COs and pays to minimal fees then each CO will get .5 of a member for the purposes of redistribution of ADHO funds. Alternatively they could be counted as a full member of each CO given that they have paid the fee.
Scenario 1: Minimal Service Fee
¶ 9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 1 That each Constituent Organization charge members a minimal and mandatory service fee to pay for the shared infrastructure run by ADHO.
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- ADHO’s financial income in this scenario would come from two sources:
- ¶ 10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 2
- Institutional subscriptions to DSH via Oxford University Press.
- A minimal and mandatory service fee paid by members of the COs for the support of ADHO.
- This minimal fee would follow a schedule voted on by the Constituent Organization Board (COB) that should differentiate the minimal fee of students vs faculty or differentiate on the basis of other agreed upon criteria (e.g. economic status, retirement). It is understood that actual membership fees charged by COs to members may be greater than the minimal ADHO fee; but the membership fees set by COs should include the ADHO minimal service fee.
- As a guide to what the minimal service fee should be we recommend the per-member cost of funding the central ADHO activities. If one takes all the expenses and divides by all the members you get what it take to support ADHO if the institutional subscriptions were not there. (See our financial model.)
Scenario 2: No Minimal Service Fee
¶ 11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 2 That the Constituent Organizations would not collect a minimal service fee so long as the institutional subscriptions to DSH can cover the costs of the shared ADHO infrastructure. In this scenario COs would not need to collect minimal service fees. Our financial models suggest that the minimal fee of Scenario 1 would probably just be returned to the COs as long as ADHO expenses don’t exceed income from the institutional subscriptions.
¶ 12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 2 What follows is a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of the two scenarios.
- ¶ 13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 4
- The major advantage of Scenario 2 is that it is simple and requires little overhead (infrastructurally, or volunteers’ time) to organise. The disadvantage is that it depends entirely on the institutional subscriptions which could lessen over time or be redirected elsewhere.
- ADHO’s revenues are currently generated by institutional and personal subscriptions to the Journal of Digital Scholarship in the Humanities (which is owned by EADH). For the health of ADHO it is important to continue to support DSH as a priority. It is also important to consider alternative sources of income for ADHO, no matter how minimal, which is the reasoning behind Scenario 1. Should DSH income lessen or cease, ADHO needs to be able to compensate. It may also important symbolically that there be sources of income for ADHO that all COs are invested in.
- The relationship between ADHO and core activities needs to be regularized once the new model is implemented. A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) should be drawn up with each of the major activities/projects like DSH, DHQ, DS and so on. The Implementation Committee will prepare a recommendation as to what sort of MoA should be pursued with each of these activities, but the ultimate decision is up to the Steering Committee or the COB (once the new model is running.) In general we recommend that the COB fund a small number of core infrastructure/activities and for all other things fund them first as projects with a time limit, then review them, and only then make a decision to provide ongoing funding as a shared activity or not. The COB should try to avoid being treated by COs as a funding source for projects for which ADHO then becomes responsible. Instead it should aim to return funds to COs to do things with.
- Scenario 1 solves some of the problems around how legitimate members are determined. It is up to the COs to determine who are their members and to report that. From ADHO’s perspective, what matters is that a minimal service fee has been paid to the CO (or an affiliated organization) that can be nominally be transferred to ADHO to support the shared infrastructure. All that ADHO should care about is income from the COs (and DHS), services for the COs, and redistributing what is left back to the COs. The COs can worry about what a member is. For that matter, if a person X took out membership in more than one CO and paid the minimal fee to both, would it matter that they had been counted as a member twice?
- The COB will need to determine a set of rules for CO membership. The Implementation Committee will make some recommendations in this regard, but it will need to be up to the Admissions Committee of ADHO and the COB to make ongoing decisions about what a CO needs to do to be and stay a CO. We have mentioned reporting on membership above. In principle a CO also needs to be willing to transfer the minimal service fee to ADHO if ADHO should ever need that income. ADHO might also ask that a subscription to DSH be an option in whatever membership system a CO uses. ADHO might ask that all COs adopt a common code of conduct and that they have elected officers. If the IC has time we will document what might be a starting position.
Appendix A: Glossary of Acronyms
¶ 14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 ADHO: Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations
¶ 15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 CO: Constituent Organizations
¶ 16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 COB: Constituent Organization Board
¶ 17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly journal
¶ 18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 DS: Digital Studies / Le champ numérique journal
¶ 19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 DSH: Digital Scholarship in the Humanities journal
¶ 20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 EADH: European Association for Digital Humanities
¶ 21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 IC: ADHO Implementation Committee
¶ 22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 MoA: Memorandum of Agreement
¶ 23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 SC: ADHO Steering Committee
Is this supposed to be Digital Studies / Le champ numérique?
Yes. Thanks for the correction.
A minor detail but defining COB at its first usage (which, I believe is above) rather than later in the document would facilitate greater clarity.
Is there a provision behind the scenes to revisit whichever financial scenario gets adopted after a certain amount of time? If not, I’d strongly advocate making an explicit plan to revisit after 3 years or so.