Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

On January 24, 2019 we shared news that DuraSpace and LYRASIS intend to merge their two non-profit organizations. The boards of each organization have unanimously affirmed their interest in pursuing a merger.  This FAQ provides additional information. The Press Release announcing the intent to merge may be found here.

The "Overview" and “DuraSpace Communities Projects & Partnerships” section of the FAQ has been revised to answer key questions posed by our community during the due diligence period of the intent to merge with LYRASIS.

On Monday, February 18, 2019 DuraSpace Executive Director, Erin Tripp and Tyler Walters, President of the DuraSpace Board of Directors, and Dean of University Libraries at Virginia Tech, hosted a webinar to discuss the DuraSpace LYRASIS Intent to Merge. In this presentation Erin and Tyler highlighted the benefits of a merge, the process and due diligence steps, upcoming steps and ways that members can contribute feedback. Following the presentation, attendees had the opportunity to ask questions.  A recording of this presentation is now available.

On Wednesday, February 20, 2019 Robert Miller, CEO of LYRASIS and Erin Tripp, Executive Director of DuraSpace held a Town Hall meeting. Robert and Erin reviewed how the organizations plan to come together to create a sustainable, innovative, global community with additional benefits for members and users. Following the presentation, attendees had the opportunity to ask questions.  A recording of this presentation is now available.

OVERVIEW

Why merge the organizations?

We feel strongly that a merger will improve the sustainability of our projects and programs and increase their impact in every sector of the scholarly ecosystem. Also, both organizations have histories that include mergers. DuraSpace formed in 2009 after the DSpace Foundation and Fedora Commons joined together. LYRASIS formed in 2009 from four library consortia (Palinet, Solinet, BCR and Nelinet). Both organizations were able to move significantly further forward after each merger than they had been able to prior.

What catalysts led to this intent to merge and how is it different from the 2016 intent to merge?

Our organizations are increasingly working toward similar strategic goals. We don’t want to compete for a limited pool of funding and staff resources. We also feel strongly we can have a greater impact in our field together than we can apart.

Over the last 2-3 years, our missions, goals, and cultures have grown closer together. For example, the It Takes a Village (ITAV) project created an opportunity for DuraSpace and LYRASIS to collaborate. ITAV provided leadership and created new understanding of the needs and potential models for support of open source software (OSS). LYRASIS’ experience with the ArchivesSpace and CollectionSpace communities and DuraSpace’s experience with DSpace, Fedora, and VIVO contributed to the ITAV outcomes and bolstered the body of knowledge around supporting open technologies and community governance.

In addition, both organizations have been working on innovation and thought leadership initiatives and wish to formalize, grow, and spread these efforts internationally. We feel we can do that through joint investments in the new LYRASIS Leaders Circle and Catalyst Fund that will convene our members internationally, promote sharing ideas and use cases, and fuel collaboration on Research & Development and prototyping to test ideas and eventually turn them into solutions for our members to use.

It is also clear, based on the consolidations in the for-profit space serving our communities, that we will be stronger and more sustainable together, giving us the means to create viable alternatives to proprietary products in a not-for-profit environment.

How will this impact my membership?

DuraSpace and LYRASIS have agreed not to make changes to membership fees in the first year of the transition. However, there will be an increase in member benefits in the first year. For example, DuraSpace members will immediately have access to LYRASIS member benefits, including service discounts, as well as voting rights for Board of Director seats. Also, Leaders Circle membership will be extended to DuraSpace members automatically for the first year of the merger, which includes access to the Catalyst Fund. LYRASIS members will gain access to service discounts on DuraSpace services. We are dedicated to increase the value of membership together. As such, a detailed consultation on membership structure and benefits will occur during the first year of the merger to inform how to improve value in the future.

Where will the newly merged organization be located?

The organization will be headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia with virtual employees collaborating and engaging with the community globally. LYRASIS will be the parent organization and legal entity for the newly merged organization. The DuraSpace brand, stewardship of DSpace, Fedora, and VIVO, and fiscal sponsorship supports will transition to the new DuraSpace Community Supported Programs Division of LYRASIS. DuraSpace hosted services (DuraCloud, DSpaceDirect, and ArchivesDirect) will also transition to LYRASIS.

Will there be any staff layoffs?

No. We anticipate that all current LYRASIS and DuraSpace staff will have positions if they so desire in the merged organization.

What will be the mission of the merged organization?

If a merger is affirmed, we expect DuraSpace to adopt the LYRASIS mission statement. The DuraSpace and LYRASIS missions are very similar in part based on our merger discussions in 2016.

The LYRASIS mission is:

​”LYRASIS supports enduring access to our shared academic, scientific and cultural heritage through leadership in open technologies, content ​services, digital solutions and collaboration with archives, libraries, museums and knowledge communities worldwide.​​​”

How can I provide feedback or ask questions about the proposed merger?

DuraSpace staff and board members will make personal phone calls to representatives of our Platinum and Gold members. We also spoke to the Steering and Leadership Groups of DSpace, Fedora, and VIVO to share information and answer questions. We held two ‘town hall’ style webinars in February to share information and answer questions.

On Monday, February 18, 2019 DuraSpace Executive Director, Erin Tripp and Tyler Walters, President of the DuraSpace Board of Directors, and Dean of University Libraries at Virginia Tech, hosted a webinar to discuss the DuraSpace LYRASIS Intent to Merge. In this presentation Erin and Tyler highlighted the benefits of a merger, the process and due diligence steps, upcoming steps, and ways that members can contribute feedback. Following the presentation, attendees had the opportunity to ask questions.  A recording of this presentation is now available.

On Wednesday, February 20, 2019 Robert Miller, CEO of LYRASIS and Erin Tripp, Executive Director of DuraSpace held a Town Hall meeting. Robert and Erin reviewed how the organizations plan to come together to create a sustainable, innovative, global community with additional benefits for members and users. Following the presentation, attendees had the opportunity to ask questions.  A recording of this presentation is now available.

If you are part of a community of practice or community governance group we encourage you to compile questions and feedback on behalf of the group and share it with us. Contact Erin Tripp, Executive Director, DuraSpace at etripp@duraspace.org and/or Robert Miller, CEO, LYRASIS at robert.miller@lyrasis.org.

What is the timeline for the merger?

Both the DuraSpace Board of Directors and the LYRASIS Board of Trustees have unanimously voted in support of the intention to merge. Each organization is now completing their due diligence work, including consultations with members and project community governance. Due diligence work is expected to be completed in February 2019 after which a final decision to merge will be voted on by each organization’s Boards. If approved, we anticipate LYRASIS and DuraSpace teams and infrastructure will be merged by summer 2019.

DuraSpace Communities, Projects & Partnerships

INTERNATIONAL ENGAGEMENT

How does the merger affect the internationalization efforts of DuraSpace? What efforts will be taken to internationalize LYRASIS after the merger? Which efforts will be taken to include international members in the governance of LYRASIS?


DuraSpace and LYRASIS are both based in the US. 40% of DuraSpace’s members are outside of the US and international engagement is very important to us. If we merge, it will continue to be important to us. ArchivesSpace, an open source project at LYRASIS, has many international members, https://archivesspace.org/community/whos-using-archivesspace.  The LYRASIS parent organization does not have international members (except for Wellcome Trust in the UK) but has aspirations of extending beyond the US.

In discussions with LYRASIS we have talked about joint investments in international events for all projects and programs.  We’re talked about these events acting as a combination between a Summit, forum, user group meeting, training, etc.

Is there any guarantee that member fees will go directly and completely into the project that members assign them to (beyond the first year)?

Our membership structure is called ‘directed.’ That means membership funds for a project are allocated by project governance in an annual budgeting process. The ability to direct funds to a particular project is a significant in promoting internationalization efforts particularly for the  DSpace community.

The directed model was put in place in 2012. Before then, DuraSpace had a general membership structure where funds were allocated where they were needed most (more like HathiTrust). If a merger proceeds, we will try to understand if there is any desire to change the membership model and understand the pros and cons to recommending changes.

SUSTAINABILITY AND GROWTH BENEFITS

What does the proposed merger intend for growth projections and overall sustainability efforts?

This merger offers the opportunity to lower projects’ overhead costs. The vision is to have a large portfolio of open source projects under one roof that share overhead costs at lower rates. For example, ArchivesSpace pays a lower overhead on project expenses than some DuraSpace projects are paying now. If community-supported open source projects pay less overhead in the future, more funds can be allocated to other project priorities.

In addition to helping reduce costs, the potential merger also creates opportunities to increase revenue. We’re proposing LYRASIS provide DuraSpace projects with access to resources that can help with growth and sustainability. For example, LYRASIS has dedicated member outreach staff who prospect membership for community supported projects like ArchivesSpace. These staff work with direct project staff toward growing membership. LYRASIS also has dedicated grants staff who work with many groups within the organization to apply for and manage funding. They have been awarded $7,406,000 from Mellon, Sloan, NEH, and IMLS between 2015 - 2018. LYRASIS also offers a type of fund called the The Community Impact Fund (CIF). It is 1 million dollars set aside by the LYRASIS board for big projects, making larger investments or tackling challenges above and beyond the normal budget process. If we merge, our projects would have access to these funds to help projects make investments in the future.

For example, in 2018 a team from The University of Utah was one of six LYRASIS Catalyst Fund recipients. They used their award to develop a test model for applying machine learning to extract information from images to assist in and increase the efficiency of metadata creation for libraries, archives and museums. See a video here; presentation slides here.

These funds could help with big pivots in technology or accelerate the pace of fulfilling our projects’ roadmaps. To request funds from CIF projects will need to build a business case for the expenditure to be sustainable within a 2-3 year period. Erin Tripp will be talking with DSpace, Fedora and VIVO Leaders about how we could leverage these types of funds. LYRASIS also has a Catalyst Fund specifically for Research and Development and prototyping. Providing opportunities for DuraSpace members to apply for these funds will create a pipeline for innovation. The Catalyst Fund is part of the Leaders Circle membership at LYRASIS. In our discussions with LYRASIS we have agreed that DuraSpace members will have scholarship access to the program during the transition, at least for one year.

Would there be any immediate impact on Project budgets with regard to the “Common Good Overhead Allocation”?

Not in 2019. If a merger goes ahead we would honor the budgets proposed/approved by the projects. We would have an opportunity to negotiate overhead services and rates in 2020. It’s worth noting the LYRASIS fiscal year is July 1-June so the budgeting process and timeline would be a little different. Based on the financial review we have done, the overhead rates are lower at LYRASIS. Community-supported open source projects could reduce  overhead rate by approx 10%.

Additional information on LYRASIS finance can be found here: https://www.lyrasis.org/about/Pages/Annual-Report.aspx

How will the potential merger improve the sustainability of DuraSpace projects and programs and increase their impact in every sector of our ecosystem internationally?


Increasing impact is about responding to the needs of users and practitioners. Here are some of the needs that have been discussed in detail and are acting as motivations for the intent to merge discussion:

  • DuraSpace technologies have successfully become parts of core infrastructure and patron services. In some cases, housing many millions of objects. This success is creating increasing needs from community members for modern products that scale, are secure, are being developed and released on predictable timelines along with appropriate support. Technology pivots are higher risk for community members because of the growing importance technologies within institutions. Commercial/proprietary actors in our landscape are meeting these needs and say open source communities can’t. We need to be able to offer these supports in order to compete with proprietary products. We feel like the resources we would have access to at LYRASIS will help us do this.
  • If we reduce our overhead costs we can dedicate more funds to staff or other initiatives projects prioritize. This can help us achieve goals faster.
  • Non-profits in our landscape are competing. We’re competing for membership dollars and grant funds. We can increase our impact by collaborating, not competing.
  • The services side of DuraSpace/LYRASIS can encourage integrations between products. For example, DuraSpace services created integrations between Archivematica and DSpace with DuraCloud. If we merge with LYRASIS there would be a larger portfolio of services/products and there is keen interest in integrating them for ‘end to end’ solutions. We’re hearing more and more from community members that this is a largely unmet need at the moment.
  • The services side also creates a team of developers that we could draw on in the future if we need development help/resources. The vision here it to create a deep bench of developers who have been onboarded to the portfolio of technologies that could be shared across projects or called on in a time of need.
  • International impact

AUTONOMY OF PROJECTS; COMMUNITY GOVERNANCE

How do we know DuraSpace stakeholders will have an adequate seat at the table, given DuraSpace is hierarchically reporting to LYRASIS? How will individual open source projects maintain their autonomy?

The intent to merge process has involved the creation of a draft Term Sheet. It includes six components, including: Fiscal, Governance, Personnel, Communications, Membership, and a Miscellaneous section.  

The Fiscal section outlines that current budgets and agreements will be honored along with an intention to have Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) put in place between the community-supported projects and LYRASIS, as a new organizational home, before a merger takes place. Specifying aspects of community project autonomy is a key advantage of developing an MOU with an organizational home. MOUs can outline the relationship, roles and responsibilities. For example, an MOU can define a governance structure, resource allocation, staffing, terms, services, overhead and costs, and exit strategy. DuraSpace and VIVO put a MOU in place in 2018. We have templates and experience that will help other community-supported projects navigate this process.

The Governance section outlines having at least 4 DuraSpace board members transition to the LYRASIS board (12 seats total at present) in July 2019. A DuraSpace board member will also have a seat on the LYRASIS board nomination committee. We expect to finalize the Governance section of the Term Sheet in the next few weeks.

The Personnel section outlines that Erin Tripp, Executive Director of DuraSpace, will oversee the DuraSpace Community Supported Programs (DuraSpace CSP division) of LYRASIS. This position will have budget, signing, and staffing authority and will collaborate with other LYRASIS senior managers. Erin will represent the DuraSpace CSP division and LYRASIS on community governance groups (similar to the ex officio status she has on DSpace, Fedora and VIVO Steering and Leadership Groups now). Erin’s position will have the autonomy to form a community advisory group of representatives from community governance groups.

The Membership section indicates there will be no changes to current DuraSpace membership or community governance. Governance bodies for community supported open source projects/programs will maintain the same level of autonomy that they have today. Changes in  governance structure and/or in membership will be a prerogative of governance itself.

What is the mid-term (beyond the first year) strategy of LYRASIS regarding DSpace roadmap & investments, DSpace community, DSpace governance, and DSpace Partners & Providers?

DSpace Leadership would have autonomy over the roadmap, investments, community, governance. There’s no intention to change that. For example, ArchivesSpace has it’s own community governance group and it makes decisions for it’s community. ArchivesSpace also has its own registered service provider program that is unique to that project.

At DuraSpace, we currently have partnerships and the service provider program at the top, organizational level. If a merger proceeds, in the first year we will need to discuss if these should be transitioned to the project level so they are under the autonomy of project governance or if they should remain at the DuraSpace division level. The idea is to not change anything for the first year so we can make a plan with the projects for the future and so we can share resources and best practices across the new, larger portfolio of projects and make recommendations for changes that could benefit DSpace. It would be up to DSpace governance to accept or reject those recommendations.

DuraSpace and LYRASIS have agreed not to require changes to community governance the first year of the transition.” Are there any plans for the time after the first year? If not, how can we agree on long-term plans before the merger?

Membership and governance structure are linked at DuraSpace. If a merger proceeds, we will try to understand if there is any desire to change the membership model or the community governance structure and understand the pros and cons to recommending changes. If DSpace governance wants to keep it the same, it can decide to do that. I’d like to explore the needs of all the projects to see if there’s anything we could improve. The idea is, if we have more open source projects under one roof, we can learn from each other and share resources. We can’t know what the opportunities are until we have that discussion in the first year of a transition.

Currently DSpace is an Open Source Project that is run by a real community and not dependent on one company only. How will we assured that we keep our current ecosystem with multiple Service Providers? How will we make sure that the service department from LYRASIS will accept a role as one Service Provider among others and not as the leading company behind the Open Source project? How can we ensure that the community keeps the saying about DSpace and not a DSpace hosting service LYRASIS might bring up?

DuraSpace and LYRASIS act as organizational homes for open source projects. We do not own the projects but provide supports so projects like DSpace can focus on project priorities instead of organizational infrastructure. If a merger goes ahead, DSpace’s home would be in the new DuraSpace Community-Supported Software Division of LYRASIS.
Services at LYRASIS are managed by the Digital Technology Service (DTS) Division of LYRASIS.

DSpaceDirect, a hosted DSpace service that DuraSpace currently runs, would transition to the DTS division and be managed there.


Currently, the DSpaceDirect service from DuraSpace does not participate in the service provider program. There is precedent to indicate it could participate in the service provider program after a transition to LYRASIS. The ArchivesSpace community has its own service provider program and the LYRASIS ArchivesSpace service, run by the DTS division, participates in that program just like any other services provider (e.g. plays by the same rules). The ArchivesSpace example shows collaboration between LYRASIS and a ecosystem of service providers.

Will the terms be part of a contract between LYRASIS and DuraSpace? Where will the community issues be declared and how binding will they be?

Our intent to merge process has involved the creation of a draft Term Sheet. It includes six sections, including: Fiscal, Governance, Personnel, Communications, Membership, and a Miscellaneous section. The audience for this document is the boards of the two organizations and their legal representatives. All of the discussions Erin Tripp is having now will be brought to both boards before the Term Sheet is finalized. Once the term sheet is finalized and if a merger is approved by the two boards then Erin Tripp will act as a watchdog for the terms and so will DuraSpace board members who transition to the LYRASIS board. If DuraSpace transitions, Erin Tripp’s new role at LYRASIS will have the autonomy to form a community advisory group of representatives from community governance groups. This will enable community governance reps to also act as watchdogs and report concerns to Erin Tripp.

Will Open Source Product documentation (DSpace, Fedora, VIVO), webinars, lists, etc. continue to be open to the public, or will they only be available to members after the merger?

They will remain open as they are now. This is a decision to be made by community governance groups per project.

What voice do the project communities have? Will the Leadership Groups (LGs) be part of the decision? Will there be any contract or other papers that the LGs will be able to review? Can LGs have a (maybe non-binding) vote on the contract that the DuraSpace Board of Directors can acknowledge before they hold a final vote?

As Executive Director of DuraSpace It is Erin Tripp’s responsibility to act as the link between community governance and the DuraSpace board. She is conducting due diligence and community engagement and presenting this information to the DuraSpace board. She has been steeped in this process and is acting responsibly as a representative. She has not recommended a referendum on this topic.  LGs will be involved in creating Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between community governance groups and LYRASIS. MOUs will be voted on by Leadership Groups.

 

How will communities of practice be informed which requests were approved by LYRASIS and which compromises were offered? Will we be able to discuss a final offer once it exists in writing?

If a merger goes ahead it would not be a sale. It would be an agreement to transition our projects and staff to LYRASIS in a new division, gain access to LYRASIS resources, and memorialize the mission and values of DuraSpace in that division. We have drafted a Term Sheet. The audience for this document is the boards of LYRASIS and DuraSpace and their legal representatives. Feel free to send questions to Erin Tripp, Executive Director, DuraSpace at etripp@duraspace.org and/or Robert Miller, CEO, LYRASIS at robert.miller@lyrasis.org, but at this time the document is not public.

The Term Sheet outlines an intention to have Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) put in place between the community-supported projects and LYRASIS, as a new organizational home, before a merger takes place. Specifying aspects of community project autonomy is a key advantage of developing an MOU with an organizational home. MOUs can outline the relationship, roles and responsibilities. For example, an MOU can define a governance structure, resource allocation, staffing, terms, services, overhead and costs, and exit strategy. DuraSpace and VIVO put a MOU in place in 2018. ArchivesSpace has an org home agreement with LYRASIS. We have templates and experience that will help other community-supported projects navigate this process. The LGs would be very involved in the MOU process. The MOU would be an agreement between the DSpace, Fedora and VIVO communities and their organizational home.

If project governance groups want to keep governance the same, governance groups can decide to do that. But as a joined organization we will be exploring if changes could help fund research and development, promote thought leadership, and fund new, small open source projects.

At the moment, our membership model doesn’t allow us to do those things. We will be exploring the following questions with our community-supported project community: 1) is our membership model meeting our needs? 2) are other open source projects using membership models that are interesting or innovative? These types of questions are important to assess how our current model is serving the DSpace project and if it could be improved.

DuraSpace Hosted Services

 

Will my current subscription service (DuraCloud, DSpaceDirect, ArchivesDirect) be impacted?

If the merger goes ahead, there will be no changes to subscriptions for the first year of transition. Prices will not increase and existing agreements will be honored. DuraSpace and LYRASIS services staff are committed to ensuring a smooth transition with minimal disruption to customers.


Will I need to be a LYRASIS member to keep my DuraSpace service subscription?

No. DuraSpace services customers are not required to be members of any organization to begin or continue with their DuraSpace service subscription.


I’m a LYRASIS member. Can I get a discount on my current DuraSpace service subscription?

If the merger goes ahead, services staff will discuss available LYRASIS member discounts at the time of subscription renewal.


I’m a LYRASIS member. Can I get a discount on a new DuraSpace service subscription?

Yes. DuraSpace services will transition to LYRASIS and members will be eligible for discounts on the combined portfolio of services.


Once the merger is finalized will DuraSpace service customers need to have a new contract with the new merged organization?

Customers will not need to take any action if the merger proceeds. At the first subscription renewal after the merger, customers will be asked to sign a new service level agreement to reflect the new organizational home of the service.


Will service partnerships be impacted?

All current partnerships will be honored. DuraSpace and LYRASIS are committed to reducing the impact on members and service customers. No changes to service partnerships will be made without ample consultation among partners and with the needs of customers at the forefront of those consultations.


Who should I contact if I have questions about my DuraSpace service?

Customers can continue to send any questions or problems to support@duracloud.org (for DuraCloud and ArchivesDirect customers) or support@dspacedirect.org (for DSpaceDirect customers).


Will there be any difference in pricing for my service in the merged organization?

If the merger goes ahead, there will be no changes to subscriptions for the first year of transition. Prices will not increase and contracts will continue to be supported.

LYRASIS Services

 

Will any LYRASIS services be impacted by the merger?

All LYRASIS services will continue without change during the merger. Members can contact their Member Representative at any time to discuss any questions about specific offers and purchases.


Will my Deposit Account with LYRASIS or my ability to use it be impacted by the merger?

The deposit account program will remain unchanged and will continue unimpeded throughout and after the merger. There will be no changes for members who use this benefit.


Will any current subscriptions I hold through LYRASIS be impacted by the merger?

None of the subscriptions or product purchases through LYRASIS will be changed by the merger, and all services, including billing and support, will remain unaffected throughout and after the merger.


Will LYRASIS continue its ongoing work with vendor licensing and scholarly publishing?

Yes, LYRASIS will continue its extensive licensing work, including negotiating terms with vendors and publishers, and seeking and developing partnerships with University Presses and Open Content resources as a benefit to our membership and the wider field. These current projects will remain unaffected throughout and after the merger.