Adopted by the Leadership Group, June 2, 2015

v 1.0 July 1, 2014 This version brings VIVO governance into conformity with the emerging DuraSpace model.
v 1.1 May 2, 2015 Remove references to legacy concepts and names.  Substitute "VIVO" for "Project" for clarity.  Remove management team.  Clarify working groups.  Add task forces.  Improve figure and formatting. Move to wiki.


VIVO is an open community, an open information model, and an open source semantic web application supporting the advancement of scholarship by integrating and sharing information about scholars, their activities and outputs at a single institution while supporting discovery of related work and expertise across a distributed network.


DuraSpace is an independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit born from a vision to help save our shared scholarly, scientific, and cultural record. DuraSpace leads the development and improvement of open technologies that provide long-term, durable access to digital assets. DuraSpace is developing strategies for managing the 'data deluge' and addressing the challenge of converting the overwhelming amount of data produced by scholars and scientists into useful information.

VIVO has joined DuraSpace as the VIVO Project to realize a shared mission through an established legal and financial framework compatible with VIVO’s own vision and goals. DuraSpace provides the VIVO Project a range of services and staff support to enable the VIVO Project to best meet the needs of the VIVO community and accomplish its mission and goals. The DuraSpace Board of Directors provides financial and legal oversight of the VIVO Project, but the Board is not involved in setting strategic direction of the VIVO Project. That is the work of the VIVO Leadership and Steering Groups on behalf of VIVO stakeholders.

VIVO Project Vision

The VIVO software, information model, and community are fully open. The VIVO Project leads the development and enhancement of the VIVO information model, the VIVO software, and the VIVO community, along with associated tools, standards, data, services, and expertise for the benefit of all interested parties.


The VIVO Project within DuraSpace nurtures a growing community of developers, implementers, institutional stakeholders, and users through online and in-person training opportunities, requirements gathering, design exercises, coordinated software development activities, documentation, outreach, and events such as Implementation Fests and the annual VIVO Conference. The VIVO Project sustains and improves the VIVO software and information model, as well as related tools, data resources, and services including the VIVO Harvester, the VIVO-Integrated Semantic Framework Ontology (VIVO-ISF), the Vitro RDF and ontology editing platform, and the VIVOsearch multi-site discovery prototype.


The VIVO Project has the following overarching goals:

  • Manage the VIVO/Vitro software as an open-source, community-developed tool for creating, collecting, managing, and delivering information about researchers and scholars together with the organizational, academic, research, and communications environment around their work;
  • Manage the VIVO-ISF Ontology as a Linked Data standard for exchanging information about researchers and scholars together with the organizational, academic, research, and communications environment around their work;
  • Lead and support work by institutions and organizations to implement VIVO and the VIVO-ISF Ontology, to extend and develop the Ontology, to further develop and enhance the core VIVO/Vitro software for current and new domains of interest, and to build applications and tools that make use of data expressed using the VIVO-ISF Ontology;
  • Conduct conferences and other related events that support and facilitate efforts around topics of most interest to the VIVO community such as open data standards and the VIVO-ISF ontology; linked open data and semantic web languages and technologies; development, deployment, and engagement around research information representation systems, including data reporting and visualization efforts; collaboration, and research discovery.
  • Work together with partner institutions, commercial affiliates, and other institutions and organizations in support of the free and open exchange of information about researchers, research, research resources, scholars, and scholarship using Linked Open Data.


Membership is administered through DuraSpace. DuraSpace defines member levels and offers DuraSpace membership benefits at each level. In addition, VIVO offers VIVO governance benefits to Member organizations that allocate their membership fees or other resources to the project. (See below for a more detailed discussion of DuraSpace Membership and Governance policies)


Membership LevelAnnual Fee

Note: Organizations from developing nations, as identified by the United Nations[1] , are eligible to join DuraSpace as a Bronze Member for an annual fee of $250.

DuraSpace Membership Benefits

BronzeInformationAnnual review webinar for members
 InformationAdvanced news of project announcements and activities
 InformationInstitutions that enter basic information about their implementation in the online project registry will receive security bulletins in advance of the public lists.
 GeneralProject Member logo for member use
 GeneralInstitution name and link on Duraspace and VIVO web sites
 Governance Eligible to vote on an at-large Member representative to the DuraSpace board of directors
 Governance One seat at annual DuraSpace Membership Summit
 Governance Eligible to nominate and elect one representative to VIVO Leadership Group from the $2,500 contributors and developing nations group
SilverAllAll Bronze Benefits
 General Institution name, logo and link on the DuraSpace and Project web sites
 Discounts 10% discount to new members on first year of either DSpaceDirect or DuraCloud
 Discounts Discounted registration at VIVO training events
 Governance Eligible to nominate and elect one representative to VIVO Leadership Group from the $5,000 contributors
 Governance Eligible to serve on Steering Group if nominated and elected by Leadership Group
GoldAllAll Bronze and Silver Benefits
 Access Preferred access (advance registration) to DuraSpace professional development opportunities
 Governance Two seats at the annual DuraSpace Membership Summit
 Governance Eligible to nominate and elect two representatives to VIVO Leadership Group from the $10,000 contributors
PlatinumAllAll Bronze, Silver and Gold Benefits
 Governance Eligible for one seat on VIVO Leadership Group


The purpose of VIVO governance is to establish principles and goals for the project, and to ensure a strategic direction and product road map, accountability, a sustainability plan, a management decision framework, and a means of conducting operations.

Governance is based on a representative, community-based membership model incrementally rewarding members who have made the greatest commitments to the project.


VIVO Governance Model

VIVO Governance Roles

Leadership Group

The Leadership Group is made up of Platinum Members, Members at other levels who are elected by peer contributors, and representatives from institutions contributing at least 0.5 FTE development or other project-specific effort as approved by project leadership, reportable to the project and approved by project leadership. This group meets quarterly with the Steering Group, including once in-person at the annual conference.

The Leadership Group establishes priorities and is responsible for making strategic decisions. The Steering Group will bring issues to the Leadership Group for decisions that meet the following criteria:

  • Annual budget allocation;
  • Substantial changes in allocations during the year;
  • Strategic product roadmap;
  • Strategic community direction.

The Chair of the Steering Group organizes and leads the Leadership Group meetings. When a vote is called for, each organization represented on either the Steering Group or the Leadership Group has one vote on recommendations brought before the group. In case of tie votes, the Chair of the Steering Group shall cast the deciding vote.

Corporate Sponsors are eligible to serve on the Leadership Group as well. See the section below on Corporate Sponsors to view the specific policy.

Leadership Group representatives are also encouraged to assist more closely with the project--as they are able to--by serving on Working Groups and subcommittees or by attending Steering Group meetings when invited.

Steering Group

The Steering Group provides overall guidance to the project, ensures that the goals of the project are met, and provides strategic guidance and support to the Project Director. A Chair and Vice-Chair shall be elected by the Steering Group annually. The Chair, or the Vice Chair in the Chair’s absence, shall convene meetings, manage agendas, hold votes as needed, and ensure transparency of communication. The Project Director and a DuraSpace staff member serve as ex-officio members of the group in order to provide adequate communication between the team members, the Steering Group, and DuraSpace.

The Steering Group is comprised of nine individuals nominated and elected by the Leadership Group plus two at-large individuals nominated and elected by all members to 3-year terms rotating in three new members each year. The Steering Group provides strategic guidance to the VIVO Project Director, recommends annual budget allocations to the Leadership Group, and is responsible for providing input into the annual DuraSpace Project Director performance review. The group sets the strategic direction for the VIVO Project, subject to approval by the Leadership Group, and raises additional funding and other resources on behalf of the Project as needed.

The Steering Group meets monthly, including quarterly meetings that include the full Leadership Group. Members of the Steering Group, other than ex-officio members, may vote on issues before the group, and decisions are by majority rule.

Working Groups

Working groups are standing interest groups providing an opportunity for the VIVO community to discuss common interests.  They are a vehicle for inclusion and an open door for new project participants.
Working Group chairs meet jointly with the Steering Group monthly, and are advised by the VIVO community at large. They provide updates to the Steering Group on activities, issues, opportunities, plans, and any resource needs. They provide annual reports to the full group of VIVO Members in advance of the VIVO conference in-person meeting. 

Each Working Group manages its own meetings and communications. All members and occasionally non-members may be invited to serve on a Working Group at the discretion of the Group chair.

Task Forces

Task forces are self-organized, result-oriented, time-limited project teams. Task forces are coordinated by the Project Director and Technical Lead, and report to the Steering Group.  Task forces provide the primary means for advancing the development of VIVO software and the ontologies.

DuraSpace Members Allocating Funds to VIVO

Members may be scholarly institutions, governmental organizations, or other non-profit organizations joining DuraSpace at one of the designated membership levels and allocating a portion of its membership fees to support VIVO.
For-profit corporations are eligible to become VIVO members through the DuraSpace Corporate Sponsorship program; NIH also has the right to vote as a VIVO Platinum-level member in acknowledgement of its funding VIVO from 2009-2012.
VIVO Members participate in periodic membership meetings called by the Steering Group, as needed. One membership meeting will be held in person at the VIVO annual conference. Members are invited to propose product features and contribute candidate use cases for future VIVO software development.

Corporate Sponsors

Corporate Sponsors supporting VIVO at a level of $25,000 and higher may serve on the Leadership Group for a term of one year, with the following qualification: Corporate Sponsor representation will be limited to less than one third of the Leadership Group. In the event that level is exceeded, Corporate Sponsors will select an appropriate number of Leadership representatives from a list nominated by the Steering Group.

VIVO Community

Anyone involved with VIVO-related development, ontology work, implementation, or engagement, who subscribes to the mission and goals of the VIVO Project is welcome to participate in the community, attend the annual conference and other events.

Any non-Member in the VIVO Community may serve on the various Working Groups at the invitation of the group leader. Community members can contribute to VIVO development and potentially become code committers on the VIVO project by working with the technology teams and Release Manager. Community participants may share their expertise and work through the VIVO mailing lists, the Working Groups, VIVO Hackathons and regional meetings, the VIVO Implementation Fest, and the VIVO Annual Meeting.


The sustainability model for VIVO includes several components:

Community Participation

VIVO is an open source, community-driven project. The ongoing health of the project depends on an active, motivated group of participants at all levels. Participation is encouraged in the form of developer and ontology contributions, financial contribution to the project through DuraSpace Membership, serving on a governance group, presenting on VIVO at conferences, writing documentation, testing and validating new software releases, offering training, etc.

Representative Governance

VIVO is governed by its members in the accordance with the Governance Model (see above).

In-Kind Developer Contributions

Most technical contributions are provided by developers whose time is committed by their employer organizations.

Key Salaried Staff

Permanent base-funded staff are funded by the project members or offered as in-kind contributions by participating institutions. A Project Director is hired under the employment of DuraSpace on behalf of VIVO. Some other key positions may be added to DuraSpace or outsourced using VIVO annual budget allocations.

DuraSpace Umbrella Services

VIVO receives a number of umbrella services from DuraSpace in the areas of strategic planning and executive leadership; technology leadership and best practices; community development, fundraising, and governance; marketing and communications; business development; and administrative support.

Membership Fees

Project spending is dependent on a number of revenue sources. One important revenue source is the membership fees provided by member institutions. The project will endeavor to increase membership through an annual campaign as well as ongoing outreach.

Corporate Sponsorship

VIVO manages a corporate sponsorship program for commercial companies that wish to support the work of the project and gain positive exposure to the community. Revenues from the corporate sponsorship program are used directly to support the project.


The VIVO project will continue to seek out appropriate grants to further the work of the project.

Service Provider Program

VIVO will take part in the DuraSpace Registered Service Provider (RSP) Program. Commercial providers offering services in the areas of implementation support, trouble-shooting, consulting, etc., will be invited to join the program and, if qualified, will be promoted to the community. Fees from the RSP program will contribute directly to the sustainability of VIVO.

Service Revenue

VIVO will have the option of offering fee-based services to the community through the DuraSpace Services program. Profits gained by VIVO-funded programs will be used to support the project.

[1] United Nations. 2014. World Economic Situations and Prospects, pps. 145-146. Accessed May 17, 2014.