GOSH Inc to become the Open Science Hardware Foundation

Dear All

The Gathering for Open Science Hardware (GOSH) community provides a space for all people who are developing and enabling open hardware solutions for science. Our community is a source of essential enthusiasm and support for the vision of making open scientific hardware ubiquitous and upholding the values laid out in the GOSH Manifesto.

Since 2020, Gathering for Open Science Hardware Inc (GOSH Inc) was established as a 501c3 non-profit in the United States to provide a legal structure that can be used by the GOSH community and its members to accept and manage resources such as grant funding. It also provides a stable administrative home for key assets such as domains and websites that were previously owned and maintained by individual community members. Further details on the context in which GOSH Inc was established can be found here.

Several decisions were made in establishing GOSH Inc which are worth revisiting two years on, given the growth and greater maturity of the GOSH Community and the new opportunities in the open science hardware landscape. These include:

  1. The community and the 501c3 org sharing the same name: the organisation was created as a resource for the community and this decision reflects that founding history. However, this has generated confusion.
  2. The size of the 501c3 org board: it was very important that while the community undertook its governance work to seat what is now the Community Council, the GOSH Inc board was set up in a way that centred power with those community governance mechanisms. Therefore, the board was limited to three people, including a board seat that is dedicated to a serving GOSH Council member. The board is currently Jenny Molloy, Shannon Dosemagen and Julian Stirling. It restricted its governance to financial and legal decisions and administration.

There were some shortcomings to this original approach and we anticipated that changes would need to be made in the longer term. These shortcomings have been highlighted in recent interactions with funders, with the Community Council and broader GOSH community, indicating that both the community and the organisation are outgrowing the current model. The board have also been reflecting on future sustainability and in what ways an organization can best serve the OScH movement, which already gains so much from communities like GOSH.

We have now concluded a new strategy, following consultation and discussion with the GOSH Community Council. This comes shortly in advance of the Council’s establishment of a GOSH constitution (see forum thread here and Council minutes) which will govern the relationship between GOSH and the multiple organisations that will support the community over the coming years.

In summary:

GOSH Inc will become the Open Science Hardware Foundation (OSHF)

OSHF will continue to fundraise for and help advance GOSH community activities, be a home organization for the GOSH Community Coordinator and other paid support positions, steward the GOSH domain and web hosting and maintain a close link to the GOSH Community Council via a council elected board seat. In line with other organisations, we will have a Charter in place with the Community Council to clarify objectives, roles, responsibilities and decision making processes for any GOSH community-related activities that OSHF is supporting or involved with.

OSHF’s organisational impact goals will be to:

  1. Advocate for OScH to be included in open science policies from institutional to international level and perceived as an important and legitimate part of open science practices.
  2. Advocate for and provide support for OScH to be embedded within education, research and innovation institutions. This includes dedicated developer and support roles at universities where the majority of OScH is currently developed.
  3. Develop well-supported pathways for OScH to be available at scale, including fiscal sponsorship for OScH projects and incubation and support of fledgling OScH organisations or companies.

You can read more about OSHF’s strategy and the context to these changes here.

The OSHF board look forward to continuing working with the Council and the broader GOSH community to make OScH ubiquitous by 2025!

on behalf of the GOSH Inc/OSHF board


i dig it, this is great!