Funding Open Science projects - thoughts, ideas, experience, bureaucracy

We have started to discuss with @Gavin possible funding opportunities for the Open Science related projects. You can share here some thoughts and possible funding opportunities, fellowships (for-profit and non-profit organisations and communities), as well as personal experience and organisation related bureaucracy. It is good to have all in one place.

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Great initiative!

Will start there.

Open Collective platform for open and transparent managing donations. Everybody can see from where funding is coming and how it is spent. The advantage is that there is no need to officially register an organisation, it can be fiscally hosted on one of umbrella organisations listed there (like Open Collective Europe or Open Collective Paris where Open Science TV is registered).

Shuttleworth foundation funds individuals which advocate in openness and social change. There is no need to submit the project proposal, just write idea and describe it in answers to questions. SF application also requires to make a short 5 min video describing the project idea. Next call for 2022 round will be in August 2021.

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative hopefully is aware about Open Science :grinning: They supported initiatives like ASAPbio, medRxiv & bioRxiv, protocols.io.

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EOSC secretariat have some funding opportunities for co-creation project, the next (and last) deadline is the 2nd of December 2020.

Mozilla Foundation proposes fellowships:

A pervasive internet has the potential to uplift society — it can promote democracy, open markets, and free expression. But it can also promote polarization, mass surveillance, and misinformation. More than ever, we need a movement to ensure the internet remains a force for good. Mozilla Fellows are web activists, open-source researchers and scientists, engineers, and technology policy experts who work on the front lines of that movement. Fellows develop new thinking on how to address emerging threats and challenges facing a healthy internet.

Volkswagen Stiftung supports research, science communication and open science practices.

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@sivashchenko, thanks for starting a public thread on this (we initiated this discussion in the JellyPBC Slack):

Apart from taking the top down, bird’s-eye view of the funding landscape, we also did a bottom-up search of individual funders who fund meta-research explicitly:

  • The Laura and John Arnold Foundation is the biggest funder of meta-research we’re currently aware of which specifically has a focus area on research integrity[73]. From 2011-2017 the Arnold foundation has given about $81 million to meta-research causes like the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS) [74], the Centre for Open Science[75], and several other initiatives[76].

  • Two other foundations working on this issue identified by the Open Philanthropy Project[77]:

  • The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Scholarly Communications programme[78], which funds projects that can be classified as meta-research such as the web-based annotation programme Hypothesis.is[79].

  • The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Data-Driven Discovery programme, which has made $58,815,543 in grants since 2013[80], some of which are in meta-research such as funding the Data Carpentry project[81].

  • Both Hypothesis.is and Data Carpentry are projects that have been considered by us for further investigating as a funding opportunity.

  • In addition, other smaller funders in this space are:

  • The Sloan Foundation[82]

  • The Office of Research Integrity [83]

  • The Open Philanthropy Project has investigated meta-research in the past[84],[85], but has not made any grants in the area as far as we are aware.

  • The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has recently announced the acquisition of Meta, a search engine for scientific research.[86]

  • Similarly, The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence has created Semantic Scholar[87], which is also a search engine for scientific research.

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For innovative funding models, I think the Supporting Membership offered by Liberate Science look interesting. Inverse Open Grant Proposals could also be promising. IGDORE is thinking about experimenting with both of these funding models in the near future.

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UNESCO has also expressed interest in Open Science, see the post/comments below for a link to their recent webinar, my summary, and further discussion. I expect that there could be opportunities for OS grants/contracts associated with UNESCO.

There’s also pressuring our respective governments into funding open science projects now and in the future… In indonesia, i am proposing this:

  1. creation of a small parallel system for open science system, some sort of pilot project

  2. among sub-systems that i proposed were redalyc and curatescience

  3. project participants are those in the largest indonesian public universities, and private equivalent which wish to participate

  4. funding to be provided by philantropists such as external (e.g. chan zuckerberg foundation which funded medrxiv to the tune of 2 million dollars) and internal ones (such as sampoerna foundation, or even the foundations owned by indonesian education and culture minister, who is the boss of the dg)

  5. when the testing or pilot prove successful, then we move to alpha, beta, and full launch, the latter using fully public funding

Btw, @dasaptaerwin / @Dasapta_Erwin_Irawan:

Why the radio silence from bu mega and dirjen dikti? :slight_smile:

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CZI just announced funding for several Open Software and Open Science projects.

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NWO, Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, opens a funding call for Open Science innovations:

However, there are some limitations:

Researchers can submit an application as a main applicant if:

  • they hold a PhD;
  • they are employed (i.e. hold a salaried position) at a Dutch university or a research institute recognised by NWO;
  • and also have an appointment period for at least the duration of the application procedure and the entire duration of the research for which the grant is being applied for. Personnel with a zero-hour appointment is excluded from applying. Deadline: 1st of April 2021
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Hi all, I’ve been collecting a list of funding opportunities that I’ve either applied to already for FOK, or are hoping/planning to apply at some point. The list can be seen here in case its of use: https://github.com/FreeOurKnowledge/website/blob/master/documents/funding.md

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Rapid grants from Invest in Open Infrastructure - due this Monday! (Dec. 7th)

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I recently came across the Guerilla Foundation, they mostly seem to be interested in social justice issues, but also seem to specifically be interested in advocacy leading to systematic change (rather than developing projects within an existing system, which a lot of open science funders seem to be more interested in), which I think is an approach that might be of interest to organisations associated with the forum. May be of interest @sivashchenko

I thought their post here expressed some interesting views in relation to other evidence-based philanthropy.

What we have a problem with is the belief that the technical solutions identified through accepted, Westernized scientific methodologies are the only or main solutions to the root causes of our ecological, socioeconomic, spiritual, and democratic crises.

To move society in this direction, we need to expand the notion of what we consider to be ‘science’ to include qualitative, grassroots perspectives, political insights, and warm data about systems dynamics that cannot be reduced to what is available as a finding to be found in a Western academic journal or run through a RCT.

It seems like a perspective that could tie into the diverse scientific practices of this community.

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How about starting a hedge fund? Top universities do this to fund projects. Typically, a hedge fund compensation structure is ‘2 and 20’ (2% of assets under management and 20% of profits), and universities have very high fixed costs (things like building maintenance, extensive staff/admin etc.) so a considerable amount of the proceeds are wasted. Even if you were starting very small (with respect to capital), over time it could be a very powerful tool if efficiency is maintained (FWIW I am considering some kind of approach like this).

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Could you elaborate on this a bit more @grant (or link to any other material)? Specifically:

  • If a university has a hedge fund, where are they investing this - in the market, or in themselves?
  • Where is the fund money from, is it raised from investors that need or return, or is it just profitable way to manage endowments (i.e. money the university already holds)?
  • In practice, how much money is required to start a hedge fund, would 5 to 7 figures in USD cut it, or more?
  • Is using funds in this way intended to create long term revenue or raise capital for immediate use?

Sorry for all the questions, I know very little about advanced investment mechanisms. (use a Vanguard ETF is about the limit of my investment knowledge :stuck_out_tongue:)

universities have very high fixed costs (things like building maintenance, extensive staff/admin etc.) so a considerable amount of the proceeds are wasted. Even if you were starting very small (with respect to capital), over time it could be a very powerful tool if efficiency is maintained

Part of IGDOREs vision is to have more efficient administration than traditional academia, and we should be able to beat them at that :rofl:

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@gavin I’ve been looking into this quite a bit so I’m happy to elaborate. I found a really great overview here. It is a long read but it is an excellent overview of what universities are currently doing, along with some points of criticism and concern.

Top universities are treating their endowments in the same manner that hedge funds treat their capital. They are involved in all manner of investments/trades within the capital markets, both domestically and abroad. So for instance see this bloomberg article detailing Caltech’s 17.8% returns.

The funds are primarily (or entirely) raised from charitable giving. If you look at the case of say Harvard/Princeton/Yale, tracing their endowments from the 90’s to today, a lot of the endowment is actually just the tax-free compounded gains over that period of time.

I may attempt to do it with ~50K just for practice. The cost drivers are taxes (which you can avoid as a non profit…a not unimportant detail, fees to managers–which you eliminate by managing the fund yourself, and transaction/reporting costs–which are minimal especially for small capitalization funds). Just take a dollar amount, project a compounded gain over X years, and then decide on some payout per anum (say 5% of managed capital to fund projects, and say you are making 10% in annualized returns…so 5% growth per year etc).

This is intended to create a source of sustained funding. It’s like the interest you get from a savings account on steroids. The larger the fund gets (through compounded annual returns), the more it kicks off each year to directly fund…well whatever you want. This is what Warren Buffet, Jim Simons, DE Shaw, and in a more secret way what the guys at TGS did.

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Got a few slides referencing preprints funders from @SridharGutam presentation:

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Stiftung Mercator - German fund which focuses on funding projects around Europe, integration, climate change, cultural education. The priority is given to projects in Germany.

Rudolf Augstein Foundation funds journalism, art, social affairs.

As I discussed with @cooper, should I also bring here journalism foundations if they are not directly related to science/science policy/open science?

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hi @grant and @Gavin: why only a hedge fund? why not a venture capital fund? :slight_smile:

@surya, the term hedge fund is a bit of a misnomer at this point (I’ve heard the term defined as a fee structure: 2% of assets and 20% of profits, rather than defining any particular strategy. A particularly funny take on this recently is the hedge funds that got smoked in the GameStop affair…why no hedging? :slight_smile: ). So the more modern view of hedge funds is that they are absolute return vehicles: make money doing whatever you can: global developing markets, credit swaps, venture capital, real estate (both global and domestic), more traditional long-short strategies…whatever you can think of. Most hedge funds will focus on a core strategy that is a subset of the total investment space–but anything is fair game. University endowments actually do usually contain a portion of venture capital investment, and if you look through their reports this will fall under the category alternative investments, which has been a growing chunk of the endowment allocation pie. What would be interesting (and more beneficial) is maybe pursuing venture investing in science (I think @gavin linked to or mentioned a book about this awhile back).