3
Models For An Earth Science Enterprise Federation

This chapter compares federation models presented at the workshop and elsewhere, and presents lessons that may be applicable to an ESE federation. The Steering Committee examined six federation models, which are described in Appendix A and compared in Table 3.1. The rows in Table 3.1 are the key issues identified in Chapter 2.

Overview Of Federation Models

All of the federation models examined have the following elements in common:

  • the objectives of the federation are well defined and are described in a mission statement;
  • the federation knows its constituents;
  • priorities are established and reviewed regularly, which helps the federation respond to new needs;
  • shared values and principles;
  • dues or discretionary funds to operate the federation;
  • well-established procedures for operating the federation, including admission criteria;
  • a board of directors, committee, or secretariat to manage the routine operations of the federation; and
  • partners have a voice in the community.

On the other hand, the federation models have the following major differences:

  • the amount of power vested at the lowest levels varies widely;
  • management styles range from relatively authoritarian to relatively democratic, with the latter tending to slow decision making;
  • leadership is visible at several levels—by a prestigious person at the top (e.g., Harvard Libraries, NATO), a dynamic, capable person from within (e.g., Unidata), or both (e.g., Chevron);
  • one or two levels (categories) of membership, with the likelihood for tension increasing when there is more than one level;
  • membership ranges from open to closed, although most federations are open to their particular constituency; legal standing varies from highly regulated to informal; and the host sponsor, if one exists (e.g., NSF for UCAR, Harvard University for Harvard Libraries), exercises a level of control that varies widely.


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--> 3 Models For An Earth Science Enterprise Federation This chapter compares federation models presented at the workshop and elsewhere, and presents lessons that may be applicable to an ESE federation. The Steering Committee examined six federation models, which are described in Appendix A and compared in Table 3.1. The rows in Table 3.1 are the key issues identified in Chapter 2. Overview Of Federation Models All of the federation models examined have the following elements in common: the objectives of the federation are well defined and are described in a mission statement; the federation knows its constituents; priorities are established and reviewed regularly, which helps the federation respond to new needs; shared values and principles; dues or discretionary funds to operate the federation; well-established procedures for operating the federation, including admission criteria; a board of directors, committee, or secretariat to manage the routine operations of the federation; and partners have a voice in the community. On the other hand, the federation models have the following major differences: the amount of power vested at the lowest levels varies widely; management styles range from relatively authoritarian to relatively democratic, with the latter tending to slow decision making; leadership is visible at several levels—by a prestigious person at the top (e.g., Harvard Libraries, NATO), a dynamic, capable person from within (e.g., Unidata), or both (e.g., Chevron); one or two levels (categories) of membership, with the likelihood for tension increasing when there is more than one level; membership ranges from open to closed, although most federations are open to their particular constituency; legal standing varies from highly regulated to informal; and the host sponsor, if one exists (e.g., NSF for UCAR, Harvard University for Harvard Libraries), exercises a level of control that varies widely.

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--> Table 3.1 Comparison of Federation Models Attribute ARL Harvard ATO PfP Chevron Federal UCAR Objectives Goals in mission statement recognition by Harvard as an operating unit in mission statement in mission statement in Constitution in mission statement Constituents teaching and research community university community national governments geophysical and petrochemical community states and people atmospheric science-community Legal standing not-for-profit corporation informal, director is faculty member non-binding political agreement   U.S. Constitution not-for-profit corporation Governance Management Role of host not applicable provides institutional support not applicable provides financing and infrastructure not applicable NSF-review of all programs and management Autonomy little loss of autonomy little loss of autonomy no loss of autonomy no loss of autonomy gives up autonomy on national issues, retains autonomy on local issues multiple funding sources increase autonomy from NSF Sharing authority board can fire the manager decisions with consent of the members consensus decisions Chevron maintains authority states have local authority, federal government has general authority board can fire the manager Priorities improve scholarly communication, stewardship improve library system defense, national security long-term profitability justice, domestic tranquility, common defense, common welfare, liberty atmospheric research Resources member fees university endowment, fees from faculties and federal grants member taxes Chevron operational funds natural (territory), financial (taxes), and human (e.g., jury duty, selective service) member fees Interoperability   HOLLIS       Unidata Leadership   director holds prestigious chair ambassador linker elected officials and plebiscite president and board

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--> Membership Qualifications by invitation open to all Harvard affiliated libraries elaborate conditions Chevron sets conditions potential new members apply to Congress by invitation Classes of membership equal/one level equal/one level NATO members (voting) and partners (non-voting) equal/one level states (full rights) and territories (partial rights) full members and at large members Evolution reviews of priorities lead to evolution reviews of priorities lead to evolution NATO slow to add new members, cumbersome decision making, thus slow evolution federation sunsets when goal is accomplished continual adjustment within constitutional framework from NSF to multiagency support, some projects sunset, continual adjustment Responsibilities dual citizenship dual citizenship dual citizenship dual citizenship dual citizenship dual citizenship Gov. Body Tasks Models elected board of directors appointed director and staff secretary general and staff full-time managers three branches board of directors and committees Procedures and processes bylaws harmonization of systems and standards common language and way of doing business, standards activities subject to approval by Chevron senior management existing body of law bylaws Benefits For host not applicable economies of scale, integrates information, resources not applicable enhanced access to science and technology, flexibility not applicable dominant role in atmospheric sciences For federation collaboration with peer institutions, voice, leveraged funds integrates information resources, economies of scale promotes security and stability advances research and development distributed burdens, power base voice in setting directions and access to major facilities For partners voice, receipt of funds integrates information resources, economies of scale voice, prepares some for NATO membership, political and military advice funding, access to new challenges, committed partner security, stature, transportation infrastructure, interstate commerce, funding access to facilities, voice, convening function Costs For host not applicable operating expenses not applicable project support not applicable development direction For federation         tensions with and among states  

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--> Attribute ARL Harvard NATO PfP Chevron Federal UCAR For partners dues and funding of individual projects, time spent on committees less customization of library functions dues, support own participation   tensions with federal government and other states, taxes loss of autonomy, loss of competitive opportunity, UCAR costs the community money, time spent on committees, dues Measures of success For host not applicable realizes economies of scale not applicable new science and technology not applicable   For federation baseline for measuring success, community's interests are advanced HOLLIS serves the community well, federation project (preservation center) is a national leader membership has grown   extended reach, stability, citizen contentment, unified direction for general matters 30 years of successful accomplishments, attracted new funding, growth of activities For partners enhanced research library quality patron satisfaction, enhanced quality of the research enterprise alliances established under the NATO umbrella scientific/technical progress extended reach, local control over local matters, stability, citizen contentment enhanced research progress; continued voice sets directions Lessons learned shared values, well-defined tasks, and active involvement of partners are essential; governance structure allows agile response; priority reviews enhance flexibility; collaboration strengthens the federation it is possible to link libraries to better serve the community size is limit On consensus decisions, tensions from two levels of members linker is critical; management must dedicate time initially; team ownership of the goal; culture is important; give and take on intellectual property; agree to rules before partner ship begins; may lose valuable people an interactive, participant-defined system can accommodate public and private interests over the long term with multiple and shifting centers of authority Triad of individual investigators, major center and federal agencies can function successfully; tensions between member and federation programs over funding can be managed; potential competition with private sector

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--> Lessons For An ESE Federation There is no ideal model for any federation; a strength for one organization may be a weakness for another. As Irwin Feller warned at the workshop, a federation model for industry may not be appropriate for science. Nonetheless, there are lessons to be learned from all of them. Based on comparison of the similarities and differences described above, and the needs of the four ESE constituencies, the Steering Committee for a Workshop on an Earth Science Enterprise Federation selected the following lessons from existing federations, which may be helpful in the design and development of an ESE federation: Lesson 1. To be successful, a federation must be a community-driven, grass-roots effort with empowerment at the individual member level. The ESE community is broader than ESIPs Type 2 and 3; it includes many other types of data and information users and providers. Therefore, the prototype ESE federation should be planned with this broader community in mind. A step toward ensuring that the interests of all the ESE constituents are represented is to include the Type 1 ESIPs in the prototype federation. Lesson 2. A bottom-up approach should be carried into the governance of federations to ensure that the priorities of the broader community are honored. However, some centralized management is necessary for making major decisions on behalf of the partners, for representing the federation's interests, and for conducting day-to-day operations. The instrument of centralized management, however, should be used sparingly (i.e., the ''light touch" management approach is preferred). It is essential for an ESE federation and NASA to agree on the reserve powers of the partners; that is, those prerogatives that cannot be moved to central control or to NASA. Lesson 3. A cornerstone of federations is flexibility. In order for an ESE federation to respond to changing needs, the initial rules and procedures should not be overspecified. Lesson 4. In an ideal federation, partners come together to achieve ends they could not achieve alone. However, since the ESIPs were chosen through a competition based on product deliverables, these common values, or the federation glue, will have to be developed by the partners. This is an essential step in forming a successful federation. Lesson 5. It is important for any organization to decide how it will be evaluated before it is created. Quantitative metrics include measures of success and a baseline from which to measure performance on a regular basis. However, the intangible and qualitative learning that is likely to occur as the experiment proceeds is just as critical to the evaluation of the experiment. Some of the most important institutional elements are unlikely to fall within easily quantifiable categories. In the case of an ESE federation, it is incumbent on the ESIPs to determine (and NASA to agree to) the elements of this evaluation. Lesson 6. Tensions can arise when partners in a federation have different privileges. While an ESE federation is small, equal status among prototype federation partners would help ensure that all constituents have an equal voice. Lesson 7. There are major differences among the ESE constituents, which will lead to tensions and differing expectations. For example, there are major philosophical differences (e.g., commercialization policy) among the ESIPs. These differences must be accommodated in the mission of an ESE federation. Conclusions The ESIPs are facilitators for ensuring that the Earth Science Enterprise meets its scientific goals. For the federation to succeed in increasing the productivity of the science, NASA has to ensure that the individual ESIPs are truly responsive to the needs and opportunities of the communities they claim to serve. NASA will need to develop innovative review mechanisms and contractual arrangements, metrics of performance, and rewards (contracts or otherwise). It will also need to retain a broad-minded view of the advantages and disadvantages of alternative approaches. To date, there is no agreed federation model for managing data from NASA's ESE program, but the issues surrounding the development of the model are expected to be resolved through meetings of the prototype federation ESIPs. Designing a federation, which is an iterative process, will be time consuming and frustrating. Moreover, it may take years to realize the benefits of the federation.

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--> But because the federation will be designed by the ESIPs and NASA, it will likely prove more flexible, adaptable, and responsive to the priorities of the ESE constituents.