Knowledge for All is a collaborative project of libraries around the world that aims to provide a free, online, comprehensive, and interdisciplinary index of scholarly journal literature. The Knowledge for All concept was devised in early 2010 and the initial one-year Planning and Development Phase began in January 2011 with funding from the Council of Atlantic University Libraries/Conseil des bibliothèques universitaires de l'Atlantique. This document is a deliverable of the Planning and Development Phase: Work Plan (October 2010). In February 2012 the project will move into Phase Two: Product Development, a two-year phase which will run from February 2012 to January 2014. This document presents a financial strategy and budget for year one of Phase Two. The strategic focus of year one of Phase Two will be developing a production version of the Knowledge for All software, developing a community of contributors and partners, and developing content for the journal index. Further details on the activities of Phase Two are available in the Human Resources and Workflows Plan (September 2011).
Knowledge for All's proposed financial strategy and business model during Phase Two include the following features:
- The organization is not-for-profit, meaning all revenue is invested in the organization.
- Revenue is primarily generated from contributions by partner libraries and organizations rather than from government, foundation, or corporate grants.
- Partners organizations and other members of the user community contribute in-kind resources, data, and volunteer time and expertise as indexers, software developers, and working group members.
- The organization follows principles of free and open access by providing barrier-free access to the Knowledge for All journal index, software, and data.
- Operating expenses are minimized by not maintaining a physical location and utilizing volunteer and in-kind services when possible.
Knowledge for All will operate is a not-for-profit corporation, as distinguished from a business or a charity. This means all revenue generated by the organization will go back into the organization rather than a portion being distributed to shareholders as profit. A charity is a special type of not-for-profit organization that is restricted to carrying out activities defined as “charitable” by the federal government. Charitable status allows an organization to issue tax-deductible receipts to its donors and makes it eligible for certain kinds of funding, but it does not allow an organization to advocate for a specific cause. As a not-for-profit organization, Knowledge for All will be able to generate revenue through donations and contributions but will not need to raise additional revenue to pay shareholders or be limited by restrictions placed on charities.
The main purpose of Knowledge for All is to develop an online index of scholarly journal articles that can be accessed by anyone in the world with a computer, web browser, and internet connection. Therefore, providing barrier-free access to the Knowledge for All's products (journal index, data, and software) are an important part of its business model. The model assumes that a percentage of organizations and individuals that use Knowledge for All will then voluntarily contribute funding to a project that benefits them and saves them money on commercial database subscriptions, as well as time and expertise toward maintaining the project, system, and data collection.
Revenue to fund development and ongoing operations of the Knowledge for All project will primarily come from one-time or ongoing contributions from organizations, with a small portion of it coming from grants and donations by individuals. A reliance on grant funding can lead to instability and a great deal of time and energy invested in writing grant applications and administering grants. Instead, contributions will be solicited from the user community as a primary revenue source, while grant funding will be pursued to supplement primary revenue. Knowledge for All will make the case that a library that contributes a small amount of money to Knowledge for All will save hundreds of thousands of dollars in electronic database subscription fees, which can instead be spent on other resources and services. Academic libraries will be the primary funding partners but other types of libraries and organizations which benefit from the Knowledge for All products will also be approached.
After the Knowledge for All products are fully developed and the organization has entered its Operations Phase, and if there is sufficient demand from the user community, Knowledge for All could provide additional services for a fee, such as customized software development and dedicated technical support. Organizations that wish to customize the Knowledge for All software for their own unique needs but lack staff resources to do this internally may have a need for fee-based customization services. Knowledge for All will provide free technical support to all users in collaboration with the user community (detailed in the Human Resources and Workflows Plan). However, organizations or individuals that need support beyond this may wish to pay for extended support. This could generate additional revenue for Knowledge for All and provide its user community with needed services that would allow use by a broader community. If fee-based extended support is offered in the future, what constitutes basic support and extended support will need to be clearly defined for users.
Estimated expenses for year one of Knowledge for All's two-year Product Development Phase are noted in the attached spreadsheet. The total amount of funding needed for this phase is approximately $500,000, or approximately $41,000 per month. Expense categories are explained below.
Salaries and related expenses
The budget includes wages for seven full-time staff members at $30 per hour, 35 hours per week. Job descriptions for these roles are included in the Human Resources and Workflows Plan. During the first year of the Product Development Phase, staff will be employed as contractors who work from home and are responsible for their own employment taxes and home office expenses, in order to save on the costs of setting up a Knowledge for All office and administering payroll. The exception will be a summer student employee, who will be hired if Knowledge for All obtains funding from Service Canada. The summer student's wages and estimated related employment costs are indicated on the spreadsheet. Staff will be reimbursed for costs such as printing, long-distance phone calls, and office supplies that were used solely to conduct Knowledge for All business, but not for expenses such as computers or Internet service. If desired by individual staff, office space to be provided in-kind by partner institutions will be sought out. This will be a particular priority for the Project Manager, who will have a higher need to access office equipment and space to store records.
Contract service expenses
Contract services, or irregular work performed by non-staff members, will include bookkeeping / accounting services, legal services, software development and design that is beyond the skills of staff developers, usability testing, and technical writing and documentation development. Volunteers will be utilized for most of these services when they are available, but the services have been included in the budget in case volunteers are not available.
The Knowledge for All Internationalization Strategy recommends that professional translators translate the content about Knowledge for All on the website, the Knowledge for All system interface, and software documentation. Most translation will occur in year two of the Product Development Phase – after product launch – but translation of content about Knowledge for All on the website should occur in year one and is included in the budget.
Office and communication expenses
Office and communication expenses during year one of Phase Two will be minimal due to the fact that Knowledge for All will not be maintaining an office. However, some money will be budgeted for postage, long-distance telephone calls by staff, office supplies, and printing and copying.
Travel and meeting expenses
Travel and meeting expenses will consist of conference fees and travel to conferences, local travel by staff to attend meetings with partners or to carry out Knowledge for All-related errands, and food and accommodations for occasional meetings between staff and board members. As most staff and board members will be located in different cities, there will be few in-person meetings between them. There will be an annual general meeting or strategic planning meeting for all staff and board members, and Knowledge for All will cover travel expenses for staff members. The budget assumes this meeting will happen in July, in accordance with the 2011 strategic planning meeting, but the date could change.
It is expected that a Knowledge for All representative will present at the following conferences in 2012:
- Canadian Library Association Conference, Ottawa, ON, May 2012
- Charleston Conference, Charleston, NC, November 2012
The budget allocates additional funding for attendance at other conferences as appropriate during the “conference season.” Conference and travel fees for board members presenting on behalf of Knowledge for All may also be covered by their employers. Conference attendance and presentations will increase in 2013 after the production version of the system has been launched and more funding support is available.
Marketing and advertising expenses
Marketing and advertising expenses include the costs of creating marketing materials, as well as advertising for vacant staff positions in the organization. It is assumed that most hiring will occur at the beginning of Phase Two.
Knowledge for All's monthly bank fees are high because it is an international organization with employees and vendors located in different countries and the organization does its banking electronically to accommodate staff and board signing authorities in different cities. These projected figures are based on the current costs of using the EFT payment service, wire payment service, and government tax payment services at Scotiabank. Knowledge for All is set up to receive online donations through Paypal. Paypal charges 2.9% on all donations, but the fee is reduced to 2.2% for charities. Knowledge for All is currently in the process of determining whether it qualifies for a reduced fee as a non-profit organization. Paypal fees are calculated under the assumptions that Knowledge for All will receive approximately three donations of a total of $15,000 per month via Paypal. Other donations could be paid by cheque, credit card, or wire transfer.
Computer software and hardware costs will be minimal because open source tools will be used whenever possible and staff will be responsible for supplying and maintaining their own standard hardware and software. However, Knowledge for All will purchase special hardware and software, such as project management software, for staff use when needed and when an adequate open source alternative is not available.
Other products and services that will be provided in-kind by partners will include the following:
|Product or service||Provided by|
|Hosting of Knowledge for All system||University of Prince Edward Island|
|Hosting of other software||University of Prince Edward Island|
|Office space for staff||Partner institution to be determined|
|Meeting space||Requested as needed from partners|