Openness policy

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This page describes the NeIC openness policy.

In short:

  • When in doubt, go public. Strive to find good ways to do this.
  • The external wiki is the place for the most up-to-date information on NeIC activities.
  • The internal wiki is the place for working materials in NeIC activities.

Openness

Much of the utility of NeIC comes from removing friction from distributed work and cross-border collaboration. Much of this friction comes from barriers to information exchange. Likewise, most distrust and difficulties in interorganizational relations comes from insufficient communication or unavailability of information. Much of this can be resolved by making as much information as possible available to as many people as possible, which in the case of NeIC means publishing the information as pages on the NeIC external wiki.

This has several benefits:

  • The information can be found by anyone who cares to look for it.
  • It is easy to refer anyone who may have an interest directly to the section of text that may be of use to them.
  • External parties can easily get informed about the achievements of NeIC and its partners, and can either just pick up the results and use them, or approach NeIC or partners for future collaborative work.
  • External parties can easily approach NeIC if they have concerns about some NeIC activity that appears to be on the wrong track. Getting this information is of course very valuable to NeIC, both for maintaining good relations and for the success of the activity in question. NeIC should therefore welcome and actively invite this type of feedback!

Privacy, Trust and Management Overhead

There are some natural exceptions to the principle of publishing everything. These are related to privacy, trust and management overhead.

Privacy: As privacy must be respected, it is up to each group and activity within NeIC to decide on what principles for information disclosure should apply to their own group and activity. Examples of items unsuitable for public disclosure can for example be management of personnel issues, preliminary budget figures, or early details of potential new projects.

Trust: Agreements between NeIC and external parties can be made public given consent from the involved parties.

Management Overhead: Management meeting minutes (in NeIC and elsewhere) are generally considered internal working materials that should not be made publicly available. The reason is that these generally concern day-to-day management activities and function only as an aid to memory for the participants. As such, they are rarely quality controlled in any way, so publication as-is would likely cause confusion and misinterpretation. Conversely, adding the necessary quality control for open publication would cause unacceptable overhead in management. Instead, NeIC management minutes are generally made available on the internal wiki only.

Approachability

NeIC should be approachable at any level.

Following from the #Openness section above, NeIC strives to make basic contact information available for all people that play a part in NeIC activities. For example:

  • NeIC board, management and other personnel
  • Project steering group members
  • Project reference group members
  • Stakeholder fora delegates
  • Working group members
  • Workshop organizers
  • Conference chairs

Basic contact information generally means:

  • Name
  • Home institution
  • Role
  • Email address
  • Photo (optional)
  • Phone number (optional)

Further contact channels and means can be added at the discretion of the members of each group and activity.

Documents

NeIC documents should be easily findable, readable, and referable.

Following from the #Openness section above, the process for generating NeIC documents is generally as follows:

  1. Draft documents either:
    • directly on the internal wiki, or
    • by other means (ex Google docs or similar), and import or link materials into internal wiki for persistence and ease of reference.
  2. Clearly mark drafts as working materials, not for dissemination outside NeIC without document owner consent (cf below).
  3. Publish final approved documents on the external wiki.
    • Wiki format is preferable for ease of reference.
    • Consider adding the approved pdf copy (if any) if absolute veracity is important.

Example non-dissemination notice; feel free to adapt as needed and put near document head:

This is an internal working document for NeIC XT. To avoid possible misinterpretation and confusion, it is not intended to be shared outside NeIC without XT consent.

Data

As a general policy, data from NeIC projects and activities should be openly available. However, researchers working with NeIC are responsible for their own data.

See also