The Open Data Institute has just published two reports: Designing Sustainable Data Institutions and Designing Trustworthy Data Institutions which include insights provided by us regarding our MusicBrainz project.
When I was starting out MusicBrainz and was trying to work out how to make the project sustainable, I would’ve given just about anything to have access to these reports. I am proud that, nearly 20 years later, I was able to contribute to these reports so that others may benefit from our hard work.
I find the section Suggestions for those scoping, designing and running data institutions on page 40 of the PDF version of Designing Sustainable Data Institutions quite enlightening:
- Ensure your revenue model aligns with your organisational goals
- Understand how your revenue sources will change during your institution’s lifecycle
- Consider both financial and non-financial aspects of sustainability
- Identify and mitigate future risks
- Learn from others
Each of these points represent a whole collections of small lessons that I’ve learned by (often painful) experience of the past years. Also, I feel that these points are not strictly limited Data Institutions, but many also apply to making open source projects sustainable. If you’re in the business of running a data or open source organzation, I would strongly encourage you to read this paper!
Also very interesting is the second report about Designing Trustworthy Data Institutions:
For example, the representative from MusicBrainz said, “[A culture of honesty] builds trust, and this trust builds sustainability”
Compared to sustainability, the concepts of trust were much more clear to me from the beginning. However, that doesn’t make this report any less relevant — especially in current times, I welcome an emphasis on trust!
Thank you to the ODI for including MusicBrainz and doing all of the hard work on these reports!