Sustaining Digital Resources: new Funders Preface version

A new version of Sustaining Digital Resources is now available with a revised Executive Summary to give a more nuanced interpretation of the findings for funders, as well as a succinct listing of ‘key findings’ and ‘factors influencing sustainability’, which are particularly pertinent to those working in funding bodies. Read on to find out more and download the revised edition.

In July 2009, ‘Sustaining Digital Resources’ (Ithaka S+R  and the JISC-led Strategic Content Alliance) was launched. The initial report investigated how, as institutional budgets tighten, will digital resources be able to continue to survive and thrive. The study illustrated the varied and creative ways in which leaders of digital initiatives, particularly those developed in the higher education and cultural heritage sectors, are managing to identify sources of support and generate revenue by following the activities of 12 digital resource projects.

However, this issue has many stakeholders, from the scholars and other content experts who devote time and energy to creating digital materials, to the host institutions, to the funding bodies themselves who finance the start-up phase. For the government agencies and private foundations that devote millions to the creation of new resources, the question is especially acute: funders want their investments to lead to long-term positive impacts, and digital resources require a level of ongoing care, development and enhancement that few funders can or want to support indefinitely.

Therefore,  Ithaka S+R and the Strategic Content Alliance, have re-written the original Executive Summary to give a more nuanced interpretation, as well as a succinct listing of ‘key findings’ and ‘factors influencing sustainability’, which are particularly pertinent to those working in funding bodies:

Sustaining Digital Resource: Funders preface

While each project will still need to determine the best combination of revenue sources and cost-management measures based on its mission, history and environment, it seems clear that projects that focus on the value of their content to end-users and the strength of their financial model are best-positioned for long-term health.

This work is part of a long term examination into the sustainability of digital content, supported by the JISC-led Strategic Content Alliance in the UK, and builds upon the 2008 Ithaka Report, Sustainability and Online Revenue Models for Online Academic Resources.