The Future of Research Communications and e-Scholarship

FORCE11 Governance

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Version, Date 26 Jan 2022

1. Purpose

Mission: The mission of FORCE11 is to improve research practices by supporting innovations in the ways knowledge is created and shared across research disciplines, communities, sectors and timeframes. We do this through:

  • Connecting the global communities interested in communications in research
  • Building an engaging space for discussion and collaborative work
  • Facilitating the development, demonstration, dissemination and deployment of new approaches and tools for effective digital communications in research. 

Guiding Principles:

  • Focused on the Future of Research Communication

FORCE11 provides a common ground for those interested in the future of research communication. Its members are interested in how research communication is currently practiced and how digital networked technologies can improve such communication (and hence the practice and effectiveness of science and scholarship) in the future.

  • Drawn from Across Disciplines and Sectors

Members of FORCE11 include commercial and non-profit publishers, libraries, scholarly societies, universities, funders, other private and public sector organizations, and individual researchers, librarians, publishing professionals, corporate and public sector managers. The membership of FORCE11 is not restricted to any one discipline or groups of disciplines. It includes experts from the Natural Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, and Professional disciplines. FORCE11 members think that the future of Research Communication is a Multidisciplinary and Multi-sector endeavor.

  • Dedicated to Mobilization and Harmonization

The members of FORCE11 approach research communication with different interests, concerns, and levels of participation. Often these interests are complementary.  Sometimes they may be competing. For this reason, FORCE11 does not itself certify or endorse external initiatives. It is not an advocacy organization, but rather an organization for the mobilization and harmonization of community initiatives. It acts by convening communities of interest from within its membership but does not presume to speak for its members.

  • Transparent and Collaborative

The community that FORCE11 works with is heavily dependent on grants from government and other agencies.  Although FORCE11 also looks for funding from these agencies, it avoids as much as possible competing directly with its members.  It does this through the choice of programs to which it applies, by working directly with funding agencies, and, wherever possible, through partnerships and other mechanisms for ensuring that the funds it receives are requested on the communities behalf and dedicated to the good of its membership and the community it serves.

2. Endorsement Policy

FORCE11 is a common ground for all interested in the Future of Research Communication. Members and sponsors of FORCE11 include commercial and non-profit publishers, funders, libraries, scholarly societies, universities, other private and public sector organisations, and individual researchers, librarians, publishing professionals, research support staff, corporate and public sector managers.

These members approach research communication with different interests, concerns, and levels of participation. Often these interests are complementary. Sometimes they may be competing. However, all of us are working toward a more open, equitable future for research communication.

While we have a vision of research being more open and participatory for everyone, everywhere, FORCE11 is not primarily an advocacy organization. Instead, we are an organization for the harmonization of community views. It acts by convening communities of interest from within its membership but the organization does not presume to speak for all of its members. It creates a space for members to work together to solve common problems and discuss questions of mutual interest and it encourages its members to become engaged in the world of research communications and to participate in external initiatives and organizations. 

FORCE11 does work with external agencies and organizations and it does support specific, member-initiated and member-developed initiatives. This cooperation and endorsement, however, is intended to be non-exclusive. The fact that FORCE11 cooperates with any one organization or supports any one specific initiative does not rule out member-initiated work with other different, perhaps even competing, initiatives and organizations.

3. Bylaws

FORCE11 is a non-profit, membership-based, 501(c)3 charity organization incorporated in California, USA. Our governing documents and the FORCE11 bylaws are publicly available for review.  Any changes to these bylaws require a majority vote of the Board of Directors. 

4. Board of Directors

FORCE11 is registered in the United States as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The property and business of the organization is managed under the direction of the Board of Directors.  Please review our FORCE11 Bylaws for more information. 

As the leadership body of the organization, the Board of Directors is responsible for:

  • determining the mission, vision and purposes of the organization
  • write, maintain and update the bylaws
  • strategic and organizational planning
  • ensuring strong fiduciary oversight and financial management
  • approving and monitoring FORCE11 programs and services
  • assessing its own performance as the governing body of FORCE11

The number of Directors shall be not less than three (3) and not more than twenty (20). Directors must be current members of FORCE11. Directors’ terms begin on January 1 of the year following their election and each Director shall serve a term of three (3) years with a maximum of two terms allowed. 

Each Member of the Board of Directors is responsible for:

  • knowing the organization’s mission, vision, policies, programs, and needs
  • reading and understanding the organization’s financial statements
  • serving as active advocates and ambassadors for the organization necessary for FORCE11 to advance its mission
  • leveraging connections, networks, and resources to develop collective action to fully achieve FORCE11’s mission
  • preparing for, attending, and conscientiously participating in Board of Directors meetings
  • supporting the work of the organization by leading committees and task forces, as needed

Regular meetings of the Board of Directors are held by conference call. When possible, an annual face-to-face meeting of the Board of Directors is held during the FORCE11 conference. All Directors are expected to participate in conference calls and attend in-person meetings. Exceptions are made based on individual circumstances. 

FORCE11 Board is responsible for the oversight as well as the management of the organization. In addition to the general work of the Board, each Board member will also be asked to volunteer for one or more of the following positions to ensure the organization runs smoothly:  Board Officer Positions (Chair/President, Vice President/Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer), Committee Lead Positions (Communications Committee Lead, Website Lead, Fundraising Committee Lead, Code Of Conduct Committee Lead, etc.), or Event/Working Group Coordination Positions (FSCI Organizer, FORCE11 Annual Conference Organizer, Working Groups Coordinator).

Board of Directors Yearly Timeline

January

  • Review previous year’s minutes, ensuring all are approved and posted
  • Onboarding meeting for incoming Board members with current Chair and/or Vice Chair
  • Overlap meeting of outgoing/incoming members
  • Survey sent for off-boarding outgoing members
  • Logistics of onboarding new members
  • Solicit nominations for officers
  • Suggest annual goals for new Board of Directors
  • Assess availability of incoming Board of Directors Members for in-person meeting

February

  • New Board of Directors officially takes over
  • Reassess meeting procedures, including methods for setting the agenda and taking minutes
  • Select new officers
  • Select Board of Directors liaisons to Committees
  • Finalize annual goals for Board of Directors
  • Review Q4/YE financial report

March

  • Review and discussion of strategic plan activities
  • Finalize and publish dates for Annual Conference and FSCI

April

  • Review draft of annual financial report

May

  • Review Q1 financial report

June

  • Review and discussion of strategic plan activities

July

  • Review Code of Conduct and publish community report
  • FSCI (roughly)

August

  • Review Q2 financial report

September

  • Assign board members to reassess bylaws 
  • Review and discussion of strategic plan activities
  • Begin process of nominations for new Board members

October

  • Nominations for new Board members closes
  • Solicit nominees for FORCE11 Annual Community Awards
  • Annual Conference (roughly)

November

  • Election of new Board members
  • Vote on reassessed bylaws, if applicable
  • Review Q3 financial report

December

  • Announce FORCE11 Annual Community Awards
  • Announcement of the new Board members
  • Start organising dates for face-to-face meeting in first half of year
  • Review and discussion of strategic plan activities

5. Nominations and Elections

In the autumn of each year, a Board Nominations committee will form to organize the nomination and elections process for the FORCE11 Board of Directors.  The first announcement will include the full timeline of the process including the Call of Nominations, Announcement of Nomination Slate, Election Dates, and Date of Results. In order to be eligible to be a candidate for the Board of Directors, a person must:

  • Be a registered member of the FORCE11 community as of the date that the Call for Nominations begin 
  • Pledge to make every reasonable effort to attend the Board of Director teleconference meetings 
  • Help with the ongoing oversight and management of the organization

An online nomination form will be set up that includes name, affiliation, and e-mail address of the person being nominated, along with an assurance that the indicated person meets the qualifications and is willing to stand for election for the position in question. This form will also request a few sentences of justification that makes the strongest case possible for the nominee.

Review of Board Nominees

After the collection of nominees, the Nominations Committee will evaluate the candidates and, from this evaluation, select a credentialed list for presentation to the Board of Directors for their review. The main criteria for this evaluation will be the following:

  1. Evidence of willingness to carry out the responsibilities of the office
  2. The quality of the statement regarding goals while in office will be heavily weighted in the decision
  3. Diversification needs of the complete Board of Directors
  4. Status in the community

Election Process

The approved slate will be presented to the FORCE11 membership for voting.  The voting process and the announcement of results will take place following the schedule detailed in the published timeline.

6. Officers

To be considered for an Officer position on the board (Chair/President, Vice President, Treasurer or Secretary), a member must have been a FORCE11 community member for at least one (1) year by the time of the start of the term for which the Officer is nominated.

Responsibilities of each officer of the Board of Directors are as follows:

President/Chair

  • Oversee regularly scheduled Board of Directors meetings and call special meetings as necessary
  • Works with Secretary to ensure that resolutions are carried out and issues addressed by the Board of Directors as needed
  • Works with Secretary and Vice Chair to prepare the agenda for Board of Directors meetings
  • Receive communication from community to Board of Directors and relay as necessary

Vice-President/Vice-Chair

  • Understand the responsibilities of the Board of Directors Chair and be able to perform these duties in the chair’s absence
  • Participate in leadership of the Board of Directors by chairing special Committees and carrying out assignments as requested by the Chair
  • Ensure that any Board of Directors members who have been given tasks know what it is they have been asked to do

Secretary

  • Ensure the circulation of agendas, minutes, and other communications to the Board of Directors
  • Ensure that someone is assigned to and takes minutes during all official Board meetings
  • Check that action has been taken following decisions at previous meetings
  • Revise minutes for publication
  • Report decisions, policy, and action items in formal minutes published publicly (when applicable)

Treasurer

  • Assist the Business Office in preparing financial reports for both the Board of Directors and community at large
  • Assist the President/Executive Director in preparing the annual budget and presenting the budget to the Board of Directors for approval
  • Assist the Business Office in preparation of annual tax filing and review prior to filing.
  • Answer Board of Directors Members’ questions about the budget and finances

Election of Officers

All officers must be members of the Board of Directors. Officers will be selected via majority voting of the Board of Directors at the first regular meeting of the Board of Directors’s term.

Removal of Officers

If an officer steps down, is removed from the Board of Directors, or is otherwise unable to meet their obligations as determined by the Chair and/or Vice Chair, a new officer will be elected from the remaining Board of Directors Members.

Board Code of Conduct

Membership in the Board brings with it certain responsibilities, expressed here as the FORCE11 Board Code of Conduct. All Board members commit to adhere to this Code of Conduct.  

  1. The FORCE11 Board represents the interests of all members of the FORCE11 community, and safeguards the long-term mission of FORCE11 as outlined in its Mission Statement, policies, principles and decisions taken by the Board.
  2. Board members will demonstrate exemplary support for FORCE11, model its principles, and will not bring either into disrepute.
  3. Board members agree to read, understand and uphold the organizational bylaws.  
  4. Board members will declare any conflicts of interest openly and recuse themselves from discussions and votes where conflict of interest may be perceived. They act with integrity at all times.
  5. Board matters and internal discussions are engaged in collegially, courteously, and objectively. Disagreements are never personalized.
  6. Board discussions are confidential. Board members strive for transparency in the communication of decisions while recognising that some internal discussions may be sensitive and therefore discussions should not be shared outside the Board unless specifically authorized. Summaries of all decisions taken will be made publicly available.
  7. The Board and its members do not discriminate or show preference on the basis of race, religion, national origin, gender, or sexual preference, and consistently model non-discriminatory behavior in daily interactions.
  8. Press inquiries will be directed to the President/Chair of the Board or to a designated representative to speak on behalf of the organization. 
  9. Any questions or potential issues concerning adherence to this Code, including  potential conflicts of interest (of your own or another person) should be raised with the President/Chair of the Board. Where this is not appropriate, issues should be raised with another officer (Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer) of the Board.

7. Committees 

Committees are organized by the Board of Directors to carry out specific tasks as delegated on an ongoing basis. Formation, operation and termination of Committees are regulated by the Bylaws and Code of Conduct. All committees (e.g. Communications Committee, Nominations Committee, Website Committee, Fundraising Committee, Code Of Conduct Committee, etc.) are overseen by the Board of Directors. 

To ensure sustainability, accountability and effective communication for our committees, we propose the following guidelines. Each committee should:

  • Hold regular meetings, at least 6 per year
  • Post meetings on the community calendar. Note that meetings do not necessarily need to be public. For example, for the Code of Conduct Committee, only business meetings are public, not incident meetings
  • Host at least one community discussion per year about the work of the committee and how to get involved
  • Appoint a committee chair, and optionally a co-chair, with a description of their responsibilities
  • Identify term limits and succession plan for chair/co-chair
  • Provide a “roles and responsibilities” document for the committee
  • Identify processes for onboarding new members
  • Identify a process for offboarding members
  • Include a process for recruiting and selecting new members
  • If the Committee Chair or Co-Chair is not a member of the Board of Directors, appoint a Board of Director member liaison
  • Post meeting notes or minutes in a consistent location. Minutes should be public to ensure transparency of FORCE11 operations, but can be private if the work of the committee requires it
  • Utilize FORCE11 communication pathways
  • Send written updates to the Board of Directors every 6 months

Public Documentation

Each committee shall have a public page with the following information:

  • Committee Name
  • A short description of what the committee does
  • Contact information for the committee
  • Link to roles and responsibilities
  • Link to committee materials: (e.g. the committee’s Google Drive folder, etc.)
  • Information for when meetings are held
  • Link to public meeting notes (current and past)
  • Names of current members including their roles
  • Name of the Board of Directors Liaison
  • Past committee members including their roles
  • Information for how to join the committee

The committee chair is responsible for updating this information at least yearly.

Internal Documentation

The committee should also have documentation for the committee members that includes:

  • Onboarding information
  • Offboarding information
  • How the chair and other roles are selected
  • Information on recruiting or selecting committee members: e.g., language, rubric
  • A month by month listing of regular activities and/or meetings (schedule of known deliverables and cadence of the committee)

Committee Formation

Committees are formed by creating the public documentation described above and submitting it for approval to the Board of Directors. Upon approval, the committee is listed at the FORCE11 website with a link to its public documentation. 

Committee termination

Per the FORCE11 Bylaws, the Board of Directors may terminate a Committee at any time.

Committee Actions Requiring Approval

The committee will not undertake any of the following actions without obtaining approval of the Board of Directors:

  • Creation of a supplementary Code of Conduct
  • Creation and/or release of position statements
  • Establish long-term organizational partnerships/commitments
  • Launch their own fundraising campaign

Note that the above list is not exhaustive. Committees should consult with the FORCE11 Board of Directors if there is any question about whether or not what they are doing requires approval.

8. Groups 

Groups are organized by the Board of Directors to carry out specific development projects for the community (e.g., Software Citation, Research Data Publishing Ethics, FAIR Data Publishing Group, etc.). These Groups develop the guidance to the community on bringing to life the future of research communications. Formation, operation, output review, and termination of Groups are described in a Policy for Groups. All Groups are overseen by the Board of Directors or a Committee assigned to manage Groups. All outputs from Groups must be approved by the Board before they are officially endorsed, according to FORCE11’s Endorsement Policy. 

9. Membership

FORCE11 is an open community of scholars, librarians, archivists, publishers, service providers, and research funders that has arisen organically to help facilitate the change toward improved knowledge creation and sharing. Individually and collectively, we aim to bring about a change in modern scholarly communications through the effective use of information technology.

FORCE11 has grown from a small group of like-minded individuals into an open movement with clearly identified stakeholders associated with emerging technologies, policies, funding mechanisms and business models. We see FORCE11 as a starting point for a community that we hope will grow and be augmented by individual and collective efforts by the participants and others. We invite you to join and contribute to this enterprise.

Membership Process

Membership to FORCE11 is free of charge and membership benefits do not expire. If an existing member would like to resign from the FORCE11 membership for any reason, please contact admin@force11.org.

The FORCE11 community includes many opportunities for involvement representing various levels of commitment. All individuals working towards our stated community goals are welcome. Participating in community activities requires all individuals to conform to the FORCE11 Code of Conduct.