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Suggested Citation:"7 Securing Financial Sustainability." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"7 Securing Financial Sustainability." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"7 Securing Financial Sustainability." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"7 Securing Financial Sustainability." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"7 Securing Financial Sustainability." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"7 Securing Financial Sustainability." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"7 Securing Financial Sustainability." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"7 Securing Financial Sustainability." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"7 Securing Financial Sustainability." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"7 Securing Financial Sustainability." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"7 Securing Financial Sustainability." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"7 Securing Financial Sustainability." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"7 Securing Financial Sustainability." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Suggested Citation:"7 Securing Financial Sustainability." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25592.
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Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

7 Securing Financial Sustainability Long-term financial viability is critical to the ongoing and growing use of biological collections for research and innovation. Maintenance and replacement of aging physical infrastructure, continual upgrades to cyberinfrastructure, additional personnel to manage growing digital resources, upgrades to meet the needs of new emerging types of collections, new quality standards, and evolving requirements for permits and safety regulations are some of the funding needs that, while essential, may go beyond what annual budgets have covered historically. Sustainable resources for normal operations and upgrade costs can be found if collection and institution leaders can leverage support from a wide funding base. Central to this effort is communicating the role of collections and placing them as critical infrastructure that can benefit society. Collections need an adequate, predictable flow of resources to maintain the specimens and the data that are their historical legacy, while also innovating and adapting to new uses and demands. Achieving financial sustainability is a goal for all institutions with biological collections. Financial stability is not just funding daily operation; a collection on a firm financial footing also has a source of funds for periodic building and cyberinfrastructure upgrades, new technologies that enhance the management and sharing of data, fieldwork, as well as salary adjustments and professional development opportunities for staff. At a minimum, collections require a sufficient annual budget for staff and supplies so they can follow best practices for storage, curation, growth, and access to collections, and can fulfill user requests for data, physical loans, and acquisition or in-person visits. Living and natural history collections with a secure financial future are able to focus their efforts on finding new ways to leverage their holdings for research and education, as well as supporting the addition of new specimens. These may include those collected in traditional ways and “next-generation” collections (Schindel and Cook, 2018) that may cross taxonomic and preservation-type boundaries. Such collections are also able to extend their specimens through linkage to derived products such as gene sequences and tissue collections (Hazbón et al., 2018; McCluskey, 2017; Rabeler et al., 2019). Overall, collections with sufficient resources are best suited to support basic biodiversity research and pressing societal challenges such as food security, climate change, invasive species, infectious diseases, and agricultural productivity in a rapidly changing global ecosystem. Institutions need to identify new strategies for sustaining and growing collections along with access to their data. New users must be engaged while anticipating, adapting to, and taking advantage of new funding models and sources to respond to changing needs and pressures. Reaching new partners and audiences requires developing new communications and networking strategies geared toward placing the collections at the center of all projects and activities. This will strengthen existing connections while building new ones with a diverse range of educational, scientific, corporate, civic, non-profit, and government organizations. CHALLENGES Collections without funding and strategic planning to support physical and cyberinfrastructure, quality control, and personnel infrastructure will inevitably lose their ability to engage students, users, and members of the public via educational opportunities, or make contributions to the common good via transformative research. As the needs for research, education, and the expanding end-user community for biological collections increase, so does the pressure for long-term financial stability. For many public academic institutions, federal, state, and county financial support can represent a large part of the 136 Prepublication Copy

Securing Financial Sustainability collections support, which makes them vulnerable to fluctuations in public funding. In addition, there are few long-term funding models for infrastructure. Because collections vary in their sizes, types, and missions, it is often difficult to apply a successful funding model from one institution to another. Evidenced by the number of recent collection closures and troublingly high collection-to-support staff ratios (Thiers and Rivas, 2018), today’s biological collections are not stimulating the funding needed to sustain a vibrant and innovative collective resource that meets the needs of its user communities. So, is there a “business model” that can sustain the long-term viability of living and natural history collections under this common constraint? Here the committee describes some of the most typical and pressing challenges. Short-Term Versus Long-Term Support Biological collections are a long-term distributed infrastructure in support of research and education. As well as maintaining operations in the near term, collections and their institutions need to be able to anticipate future trends and changes in methods, technology, research applications, and regulations that may affect the maintenance and long-term sustainability of collections. While federal and other agencies have provided millions of dollars to fund short-term research projects that generate or use collections, the difficulty to assess the national portfolio of biological collections and the lack of a complete catalog of specific collections and specimen holdings make it difficult for funders to determine whether and how to spread their support. Biological collections are also lacking a clearly outlined long- term mission that is easily understood and inspiring. Because it is a distributed network of individually funded collections, it is hard to get the general public to support biological collections by demonstrating their role in describing and understanding life on Earth as well as patterns of diversity and extinction. On the other hand, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is successful in obtaining the general public’s support because it clearly describes one of their major goals: to land a human on Mars. Driven by measurable impact, agencies often face a tension between funding cutting-edge research where the benefits are easy to envision and quantify in the short term versus physical and digital infrastructure where benefits may be less obvious, less tangible, and long term. Thus, despite occasional federal support for improving infrastructure—and recent temporary funding to support the digitization of natural history collections—these collections need to generally rely on institutional funds for ongoing operations. In addition, living collections rarely have local institutional support, and a long-term federal strategy to support our nation’s biological collections has not been developed. A clear, long-term vision for both individual collections and the collections community is needed for successful fundraising. As many collections continue to struggle to meet short-term basic needs of curation and infrastructure support, long-term financial stability is needed to ensure continued access to high-quality specimens and data and ongoing innovation in curation and data use. Decades of effort by both collections professionals and the extended research community could be lost if funding for a collection is put on hiatus or discontinued. Limited Funding and Limited Pool of Funders Biological collections require perpetual financial support to fulfill their mission for research and education. Collections are expensive to build and operate, as is retaining highly skilled collections staff. For most collections, these ongoing maintenance costs need to be funded from annual operating budgets provided by their institution. Such budgets, especially in the case of not-for-profit institutions, may barely cover the ongoing costs and are often subject to cuts or re-allocations to other activities. Even with consistent annual operating budgets, collections will have unmet financial needs when faced with needs for upgraded and expanded cyberinfrastructure, new health and safety regulations, and unfunded mandates such as legal and regulatory compliance. For example, it is important to be able to respond to the implementation of new legal requirements that may affect collection growth and existing protocols such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, which includes the Nagoya Protocol (see Box 1-10), the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, the Paleontological Resources Prepublication Copy 137

Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century Preservation Act, and others. A collection needs to be able to adapt to an increasing financial burden and legal operating requirements of such new collecting, acquisition, and dissemination practices. When institutional funding is insufficient, collections seek external funding support to improve and expand collections, and sometimes even to fund basic collections care and infrastructure. For example, the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Collections in Support of Biological Research (CSBR) program specifically funds biological collections infrastructure. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), through its Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP), funds diverse living stock collections that support health research, which include vertebrate and invertebrate organisms. Research grants typically do not include support for collections beyond the processing of the collections made in the particular research project. The most cost-effective time to curate and digitize a collection is when it is first obtained. Costs for corrective measures or to deal with backlogs increase with time, which often is not taken into consideration or not funded. A collection that is insufficiently funded to maintain its infrastructure will fall into a downward spiral in which use, ability to accept new material, quality control, and curation best practices all diminish, further limiting the institution’s ability to obtain funding. Collections must face the challenge of how to communicate their mission to a diversified pool of funders such as public funders, institution leaders, and private donors in order to obtain sufficient infrastructure support. Underappreciation of the Value of Biological Collections Although specimens from biological collections are being used in a broad range of educational endeavors (see Chapter 3) and modern research such as studies of climate change, species interactions, and functional traits, as described in detail in Chapter 2, as a community, biological research collections do not market themselves well or effectively demonstrate their value to stakeholders. The centrality of biological collections to these educational and research activities is still not widely appreciated outside of the immediate research and collections community, as evidenced by the recent de-funding of active collections at places like the University of Oklahoma (Nhcoll-l Listserv posting from Dr. Dan C. Swan, Interim Director, Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History) and the University of Alaska (Lambert, 2019). More broadly, the fact that many collections in the country are understaffed (evidence from herbaria in Thiers and Rivas, 2018) is consistent with poor messaging about the successes of this infrastructure. For living collections, this under-appreciation of the potential applications of the collections leads to the lack of financial support for collections used for research, especially for smaller institutions, which leads to increased users’ fees, a decrease of collections use (personal communication, McCluskey, 2019), and loss of competitiveness. Many researchers who make collections for their research, across the breadth of the biological sciences in fields such as ecology, are sympathetic with the goals of collections yet, for logistical, lack of awareness of the collections infrastructure, or financial reasons, may not contribute to the deposition or accessioning of their specimens in collections. This failure to deposit specimens or samples made into the appropriate collections results in “dark data” (see Chapter 5) and will severely limit the impact of collections in the future. Additional funding to ease the significant burden and cost of specimen deposition and accessioning, as well as a change in culture within the biological sciences, will help ameliorate this gap. There are some exceptions (George, 2019), but generally, collections fall back on traditional value propositions (Merritt, 2017), which are not necessarily compelling to modern funding sources. Communicating Outcomes and Impacts Successful metrics for outcomes and impacts can be critical to continuing support, both at the institutional and the community level. The challenge that arises is agreeing on what metrics are important to share with stakeholders within and outside the collections community. As with many scientific endeavors, collections management lacks a common set of metrics that can be aggregated across collections, especially given the great variability in the collections landscape in scale, scope, and material. 138 Prepublication Copy

Securing Financial Sustainability This is made more difficult by the diverse and ever-growing body of stakeholders making decisions about collections, who have dynamically shifting priorities and requirements. There is a need to share observations and conclusions in ways that people can understand and through multiple channels of communication. The benefits of more effective communication include: • Enable biological collections administrators and staff to articulate the vitality of their programs. • Demonstrate use, impact, or other dimensions about how a collection is aligned for the needs of the host institution, science, and education communities, or funders. • Enable the host and funding institutions to learn about and assess the returns on their investment. Collections typically collect metrics that they believe their funders or host institutions want; therefore, the metrics used by one institution for its own funders and host institution might not be useful for other institutions. If these metrics are used for all institutions, this might mask the value of the contribution of other collections. This may render the evaluations unhelpful or even disadvantage individual collections when metrics are aggregated across different kinds or locations of collections. The community needs to find a set of metrics that can be used to demonstrate the contributions of a broad range of collections of different sizes, types, with different objectives. Individual institutions need to also be able to articulate how they “rate” relative to other, similar collections or collection endeavors when trying to communicate or compare impact to funders or organizations when faced with competing requests for support. A comprehensive set of metrics would help to assess, compare, and then communicate impacts from different kinds of approaches to collections more effectively. Estimating the Financial Value and the Cost of Biological Collections Summaries of the many ways in which collections are valuable for research and education have been described several times (Allmon, 1994; Anderson, 2012; IWGSC, 2009; Meineke et al., 2019; Nudds and Pettitt 1997; Suarez and Tsutsui 2004) and also in Chapters 2 and 3. However, better metrics are still needed to assess the importance of collections in monetary terms at a time when economic value alone often dominates our public discourse. Estimates of the cost of specimens, and therefore financial value, from field collections to data entry have been conducted for individual collections. For example, Bradley and colleagues (2012), as well as Baker and colleagues (2014), assessed the cost for collecting and housing their mammal collections at an average of ~$70 per specimen. For living stock collections, the cost of a specimen is reflected in users’ fees. For example, acquiring a specimen from the Fungal Genetics Stock Center collection costs between $25 and $50 1 but would reach 300 euros when the cost of accession is taken into account (Smith et al., 2014). However, these costs do not include up-front capital cost, facility maintenance, and all other activities pertaining to services to the research and education communities. While the cost of conducting several years of field studies leading to the collection is high, it is generally acknowledged that maintaining these collections annually costs a relatively smaller fraction of that amount. Smith et al. (2014) outline budget models for microbial Biological Resource Centres, including the estimated cost to preserve, maintain, and distribute each specimen. Considering the extraordinary range of types and purposes of biological collection specimens, these knowledge gaps, however, make it difficult to articulate for funders or administrators who are not scientists the value proposition of biological collections in ways that translate into increased resources. Describing assets and articulating the return on investment for collections is also difficult to calculate, and the financial consequence of the unavailability of specimens or their associated data is a question that is at best challenging to answer or one that is rarely even asked. This needs to be recognized as the opportunity cost 1 See http://www.fgsc.net/fgsc/pricing.html. Prepublication Copy 139

Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century of not having a well-preserved collection when information contained in such a resource is needed (Freedman et al., 2015). Financial Obligations for Ongoing Growth of Biological Collections and Their Associated Digitized Data In addition to the ongoing growth of collections in size and numbers of specimens, the advent of new technologies and associated research endeavors increase their accessions and diversity of uses (Wandeler et al., 2007). Collections are often housed within not-for-profit institutions such as colleges or universities, which need to balance many commitments in terms of space and personnel. Support by these institutions for any obligation, including acquiring and maintaining collections, will vary over time and is contingent on the obligation aligning with the mission of the institution. Ideally, institutions commit, either implicitly or explicitly, to a business strategy that commits to the growth and maintenance of collections in their care. However, with limited funding and staff members, hard conversations for deciding when a collection needs to be closed, discarded, or transferred to free space for other activities are vital. Instead of discarding a collection that no longer has a clear relationship to the evolving mission of the institution, or is no longer deemed important enough to maintain locally, near to other university activities, it is not uncommon for colleges and universities to cease supporting or maintaining the collection while still retaining it on site. These “orphan collections” eventually may become damaged from inattention beyond the ability to save them. Sometimes these collections are offered to another institution that can absorb it into their holdings. However, the collections community is made aware haphazardly that a given collection is on the brink of being lost, such as occurred with the fish and herbarium collections of the University of Louisiana at Monroe. 2 In such cases, the community can rally behind saving the collection and identify a suitable repository that can absorb the collection. One of the criteria for funding by the CSBR Program at NSF is urgency, such as when a collection is in danger of being destroyed or lost due to a failure of the host institution to continue its financial obligations to sustain the collection. Typically, only larger institutions and collections are able to absorb collections that are in critical danger of being lost, a process that can lead to unusually rich aggregations of collections that may better serve specific research communities. Most collections, however, typically lack the funds to accession large numbers of new specimens. Rescuing biological collections is particularly difficult for collections that do not have explicit local support. The living collection community can rescue endangered or orphaned collections, but only when there is sufficient existing capacity (Boundy‐Mills et al., 2019). In other cases, taking on orphan collections puts undue pressure on existing infrastructure and funding. The collections community and funders need a strategic vision that includes a variety of tactics and benchmarks to prioritize accessions and deaccessions of collections and to alert the community of collections in danger of being lost. Financial commitments and strategic planning to continue to digitize specimen records and build and maintain the cyberinfrastructure are also required to ensure the long-term utility and accessibility of digital data associated with biological collections. Digitization and a strong cyberinfrastructure provide online access to specimen-related resources and increase opportunities in research (see Chapter 5). However, digitization is a time-consuming endeavor that necessitates trained staff members to manage at least these major tasks: (1) digitize already collected specimens; (2) digitize new specimens that continue to be accessioned; and (3) regularly reassess the digital data needs of the user communities, including software and hardware needs for preserving, interpreting, and disseminating digital resources. Thus, it is especially worrisome that there is no long-term nationwide strategy to simultaneously support the high cost for generating digitized data and storage infrastructure for newly collected specimens, while at the same time retroactively capturing data gathered over past decades and centuries. These dual efforts for digitization will require new investments and planning for long-term support. 2 See https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2017/07/05/louisiana-monroe-natural-history-collections-are-safe. 140 Prepublication Copy

Securing Financial Sustainability Lack of Business Management Training There are only a few avenues for business management and fundraising training opportunities, and these are often limited to institutional leaders who frequently have short-term appointments. This pattern limits the ability of any given institution with rotating leadership to build and leverage new resources beyond traditional renewable funding. In addition, the staff is typically hired for research knowledge and curatorial skill, not for their business or financial acumen or administrative leadership. These issues are not unique to biological collections and affect any community with significant research, education, and infrastructure requirements beyond laboratories. Fee-based training programs, 3 which are often beyond the financial reach of small collections, and workshops are starting to address some of these issues (Parsons et al., 2013) but do not go far enough to address the ongoing and changing financial training needs of biological collections administrators. Collections scientists are routinely expected to become fundraisers, but this may be detrimental to other activities. Insufficient training to develop business models and financial strategies may lead to a “nonprofit starvation cycle” where institutional leaders may have unrealistic expectations about how much it costs to run a collection, which results in either not asking for what is truly needed to prevent losing out on receiving funds or by cutting corners on vital needs. As a consequence, funders have misperceptions about what collections truly need. RANGE OF OPTIONS FOR ADDRESSING THE ISSUE OF FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY Overcoming the barriers described in the previous section will require a thoughtful approach that takes advantage of resources that are available not only within the biological collections community but also from outside the community. This section describes a number of strategies for surmounting these barriers, including developing strategic business models and long-term frameworks to diversify funding portfolios and explore diverse funding mechanisms, strengthening partnerships and offering training opportunities, taking advantage of well-established communications practices from the science communications community, and developing a national vision for ensuring financial sustainability. Developing Long-Term Strategic Frameworks for Building a Diversified Funding Portfolio Most collections are utilized for research and education and obtain their funds from single sources. Strategic planning helps identify the financial and other needs of a collection, suggests areas of potential savings, and differentiates the funding needed for ongoing maintenance of the collection from what is needed to meet evolving standards, replace aging infrastructure, and accommodate the growth of collections. Going through the strategic planning process every few years can help identify the potential funding sources for biological collections infrastructure and also identify gaps in funding that will need to be met by other resources during the plan’s duration (Parsons et al., 2013). For example, NSF’s CSBR and several funding programs through the Institute of Museum and Library Services offer grants that may offset the costs of the improvements needed to maintain adequate infrastructure for collections survival. Research and education initiatives using collections may be funded by a wider range of public and private sources than are available to support collections infrastructure, and thus it is imperative that all such initiatives cover the full cost of that use. However, the need for major continued infrastructure improvements at all U.S. biological collections is not being met through grant programs alone. Developing a diversified funding portfolio (and subsequent fundraising) is a desirable outcome of a strategic plan, one that contains a mixture of institutional operating funds and funds that are raised specifically for the collection; for example, endowment; user fees for partial recovery of service expenses (where allowable and practical), licensing of images for commercial use, donations from alumni, members or friends organizations; project-based grants and contracts and sustaining grants including naming opportunities from philanthropic or 3 See https://www.esa.org/programs/training. Prepublication Copy 141

Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century commercial enterprises. A diversified funding portfolio built on stable base funding will help ensure a collection’s sustained security and viability. The Natural History Museum of Utah (NHMU) is an example of an institution with collections that garnered corporate support for a state-of-the-art facility. During a presentation to the committee in 2019, Dr. Sarah George, then Executive Director of the NMHU, outlined a strategic framework that included providing training to collections staff members in building long-term fundraising strategic plans, developing case statements with stories that appeal to donors, and establishing a community of practice led by collections professionals with experience in fundraising. Similarly, the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium of the NYBG is an example of a collection that has been endowed through individual philanthropy. The named Bayer Center at the Missouri Botanical Garden reflects the corporate support obtained for that collection building in the late 1990s. Various financial models have been explored for the maintenance of biological collections and data infrastructure (e.g., Chandras et al., 2009). A strong and stable base requires recognition of the value of the collection to the mission of the larger institution. Above all, a collection’s leadership needs to ensure its appreciation as critical infrastructure that supports the institution’s research, educational, and other goals. Building Funding Partnerships Given the critical role of collections across a range of scientific disciplines, funders need to take advantage of opportunities to tie funding for collections infrastructure and cyberinfrastructure to other infrastructure investments and initiatives across agencies. An example is a collaboration among the world’s major herbaria, the Mellon Foundation, and JSTOR to provide Global Plants, a database of approximately 2 million type specimens of plants and fungi. Between about 2004 and 2015, the Mellon Foundation funded the digitization of type specimens from about 200 herbaria worldwide. Images were the property of the institutions holding the specimens imaged, but a copy of each image and its associated metadata was added to the Global Plants database managed by JSTOR and offered as part of a subscription package to libraries and herbaria worldwide. The subscription fees support the maintenance of the database and the contextual linkage of these type specimen records to other JSTOR holdings (JSTOR Global Plants 4). Other examples include collaborative networks to develop and support software initiatives such as Specify and Arctos, and Thematic Collections Networks funded for collaborative digitization projects through NSF’s Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC) program. Another example involves ownership of specimens by one body (e.g., the Bureau of Land Management), curation by a university-based or stand-alone collection, and infrastructure support by another body of funding. Under this model, funds appropriate to the number of specimens would need to be provided by the appropriate agency to the institution housing and curating the specimens. Partnerships between federal agencies and non-federal sources, such as foundations, could also be explored as possible resources for supporting collections as infrastructure. Communicating: Working on the Messaging Collections are constantly being accessed, curated, annotated, measured, photographed, used for research, and cited, and each specimen added to a set subtly expands the scientific and educational uses for which the collection can be engaged. Establishing and communicating the relevance of biological collections will ensure that they are considered as an essential element of the fabric of the institution. Biological collections are most appropriately envisioned as research centers, many of which have public displays for formal and informal education. Universities spend millions of dollars on research centers, such as building new spaces that allow professors and students to leave their department silos and engage in interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary work (see also Chapter 4). Biological collections can also bring communities together and their value needs to be communicated as such. For example, if a collection is 4 See https://plants.jstor.org. 142 Prepublication Copy

Securing Financial Sustainability part of a university, the use of the collection by multiple departments—biological and beyond—and other units will help ensure relevance. Moreover, engaging with students, alumni/ae, and others who use the collection can strengthen its position within the institution. Establishing and communicating the role of the collection in the local community will enable it to build community interactions, such as developing a strong volunteer base, providing opportunities for citizen science, and other initiatives (George, 2019). Working with development officers to raise funds to establish and grow an endowment is crucial. Collections need to seek to benefit from larger institutional capital campaigns. These efforts to build relationships with various communities require that the collection introduce products that address the emerging needs of the relevant stakeholders and track activities to show impact. Biological collections serve many needs and many stakeholders, each of which needs messages and narratives that resonate specifically with them. For some of these stakeholders, robust metrics and data may be persuasive or compelling. But many of the defining benefits of biological collections, such as serendipitous uses and new discoveries, are best documented as descriptive narratives about advances in knowledge and other types of success (IWGSC, 2009). These narratives include research, educational, and public service contributions, some resulting outcomes that can only arise through the use of biological collections (see Boxes 2-1, 2-2, 3-1, 3-2, 4-1, 4-5, and 5-1). A well-developed literature and an established community of practice for the science of science communication (Jamieson et al., 2017; NASEM, 2017) support the development of compelling narratives—often best told retrospectively—that identify areas or problems that were solved or elucidated by access to biological collections and their associated datasets. The biological collections community does not need to reinvent the wheel to find ways to develop, structure, and describe its successes. However, developing a set of guidelines within the collections community for how to develop clear narratives, what topics are best suited for narratives about success, sharing experiences with how and when to tell these stories, and compiling a community-wide list of these contributions can synergize with formal evaluations of the value and impact of biological collections. Demonstrating Return on Investment and Benefit-to-Cost Ratio of Biological Collections Investing in scientific research and education pays off. This is a valuable component of sponsor stewardship regardless of the kind of reporting required. Demonstrating the return on investment of collections in support of research and education is more difficult and somewhat anecdotal. It requires some careful analysis complementary to, but different from, demonstrating the impact of collections on research and education. For both, the metrics involved would, therefore, be different (see Chapters 2 and 3). According to Dr. Keith Crane from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, the best-documented examples of benefit-cost analysis come from the agricultural communities that can estimate in dollars crop production and productivity after an intervention using biological collections (Crane, 2019). The cost of financial consequence for not sampling the environment for emerging and re-emerging pathogens can also now be estimated. Recently, reports described that the World Bank mobilized more than $1.6 billion for Ebola recovery and estimated that the region’s gross domestic product would lose $2.2–$7.4 billion over the short term. This story could have been different if relatively small funds were made available for collecting field samples and identifying the local distribution of the viruses after the initial discovery (DiEuliis et al., 2016). According to Merritt (2017), rethinking the value proposition of biological research collections will be key to ensuring their financial sustainability. Finding ways to increase appreciation for the invaluable contributions that biological collections make to research and innovation will be the first step in ensuring their health and stability in the future. Developing Strategic Business Models An individual collection can do a lot to improve its financial sustainability. Foremost is developing a comprehensive annual budget to ensure optimal operation, guided by an up-to-date strategic Prepublication Copy 143

Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century plan that is periodically reviewed and updated. Financial management of a collection needs to incorporate business models, develop relationships with relevant stakeholders and funders, and, if part of a larger organization, connect to that institution’s mission and goals. Specifically, a collection’s leadership needs to include expertise in business, finance, marketing, and networking, as well as biology, Earth science, and data science, among others. The business model needs to account for infrastructure (acquiring, maintaining, upgrading), but also adapting to personnel capacity and needs, specimen loans, including use for on-site research, education, or others. Importantly, the business model needs to include some type of marketing or outreach programs in addition to strategies to grow collections either by acquiring or integrating new accessions. Finally, the plan would also include a comprehensive risk management plan for fire, natural disasters, shutdown, or infrastructure failure (e.g., burst pipes, failure of temperature or humidity control systems). This includes: 1. Articulating expected outputs given the objectives of the collection and the needs of the community. Outputs are more than research publications. They need to be tied to infrastructure as well. For example, is growth an expected output of the collection? Then, collecting and accessions need to be taken into consideration. 2. Determining the appropriate level of funding diversification and identifying all possible revenue streams. The level of diversification has to be aligned with the expected outputs of the collection. 3. Articulating the key sustainability elements of the collection: what absolutely must be in place and appropriately funded for the collection to be able to deliver on its objectives in a sustainable manner [not burn the candle at both ends]. For most research centers—a good parallel—sustainability elements are facilities and equipment; operational personnel; and research and researcher support personnel. 4. Determining what approach needs to be taken on core funding—the pool of money that a collections director [or board of directors] can allocate where it is needed for operation or even for exploring new ideas/capabilities for the collection. Complementary Funding for Research and Infrastructure Only a few funding sources—most notably NSF and NIH—invest in collections infrastructure, although support may also come from other federal agencies, state and local agencies, foundations, collection-holding institutions, and individuals. Ideally, support for collections infrastructure needs to be seen as an underlying requirement of the research being conducted and not as coming at the expense of support for research. For example, NSF funding to support the accessioning and digitization of specimens collected as part of an ecological or evolutionary study would generate funds for collections to perform the tasks necessary to make these specimens available while providing a foundation for innovations in research and education. An NSF-funded and mandated specimen management plan (see Chapters 4 and 5) would provide the necessary guidance and structure to require housing of specimens in appropriate collection repositories for specimen-based research. This plan would promote communication between researchers and the collections where the specimens and their associated material would be deposited. Because this would happen during proposal preparation and before collecting, it would allow the exchange of information on data collection, best practices, and protocols to maximize specimen and data quality and help identify taxonomic and geographical gaps among others. The plan would help link research funding to collections by mandating per-specimen funds in all specimen-based collecting proposals necessary to curate, digitize, and provide long-term care of those specimens. The collections community could provide guidance on such a specimen management plan for adoption by NSF. 144 Prepublication Copy

Securing Financial Sustainability Training and Sharing Best Practices Collection professionals often lack expertise in business models and financial planning and training on topics such as developing an accurate budget or exploring innovative ways in diversifying revenue streams. One-off financial sustainability workshops convened by the American Alliance of Museums (Merritt, 2017) focusing on natural history collections and the Ecological Society of America (ESA) focusing on living collections (Parsons et al., 2013) have demonstrated the need for more training in this area. The ESA has started offering annual training programs that focus on funding (see the ESA’s Sustaining Biological Infrastructure (SBI) Training Initiative5). While there has been little overlap between natural history and living collections in this arena, both communities have taken different approaches to financial sustainability but have insights to offer each other. Developing a network of museum directors and biological collections administrators across collection types, who can share best practices for financial models and planning, would have a more extensive impact on the biological collections community as a whole (see Chapter 8). Networking between collections’ directors and representatives of funding institutions is an opportunity to increase the limited funds currently available for supporting collections and to develop novel funding mechanisms. Willingness to Pay Specimens held in natural history collections and their digital information, both of which are often irreplaceable contributors to educating generations of scientists and advancing basic and applied research, have a history of being available to most users free of charge or at a minimal cost. Part of the explanation for this arrangement is that not-for-profit institutions hold most biological collections. Also, specimens are often collected with public funds through NSF, and therefore these institutions cannot always justify charging for their use. Traditionally, natural history collections exchange, borrow, or lend specimens within their communities on a quid pro quo basis. But for just about any other “service” in the world, people pay for that privilege. Innovative solutions may require bringing in social science research to assess how user fees do or do not fit into business plans for collections. Ultimately, there needs to be a fundamentally different funding paradigm for collections to be maintained and thrive. Lessons learned from the advent of paywalls in the print media and the creation of journal consortia could afford examples for biological collections working to adapt to a rapidly changing funding landscape while working to establish new models for support and partnerships. The business model is different for some living stock collections, which have used subscription and fee-for-service plans for decades. Lower fees are usually applied for educational and research use. It is worth noting that The Arabidopsis Information Resource (TAIR) was once a public resource and is now pay-for-access (Reiser et al., 2016). ATCC is also a nonprofit institution that became self-sufficient by charging for its materials and services (NRC, 2011). Both of these examples could provide insight into the pros and cons of a transition to a subscription-based funding model. Some collections do not loan or distribute their specimens and material to for-profit users, but for those that do, fees are traditionally only charged (or will be higher) to for-profit users who will be making a profit based on the data extracted from the specimens or their metadata. For this reason, many living stock collections protect their rights and the rights of the donors of their material. Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs), or similar types of agreements (Limited Use Licenses, for example) serve these purposes. The MTA limits the users’ ability to transfer the material to ensure the quality of the collection’s materials and encourages the primary user or other subsequent users to procure the material from the collection for a fee. Resulting funds may be used to further research or to sustain the ongoing operations of the collection. Typically, the MTA restricts usage of the material to research use only, and some collections may require a license to use the material for clinical or commercial purposes. Often, this model relies on the willingness of the users to approach the collection or the depositor to request a license. It also depends on a collection’s capability to 5 See https://www.esa.org/programs/training. Prepublication Copy 145

Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century track the use of its material, which often is a challenge and can sometimes only be accomplished by larger collections, such as the ATCC, with a license department that can monitor the clinical or commercial use of their material. Natural history collections have made much of their data available free of charge online in the last decade. Undoubtedly many for-profit companies have taken advantage of those data, but currently this landscape is unknown (see Chapter 5). In the event a collection decides to change its funding strategy, it will be essential to bring in the expertise required to learn how to charge for its materials/usage, improve accessibility to its users and improve its websites and customer support to establish a solid platform to make the collection profitable. This is not an easy transition and can take time to develop and establish and might require an important investment of funds. It is here where funding entities could provide the necessary investment to implement these changes. Develop a National Vision for Biological Collections and a Distributed Collection Network in Service to the Nation The collections community needs to assume a leadership role in developing a national vision for ensuring the financial sustainability of biological collections. While institutions that curate, maintain, and use biological collections have different missions, sizes, and purposes, they all face a complex balancing act to adapt to the evolving needs of biological collections. Unity within the collections community is fundamental to solving these challenges (see Chapter 8). Multidisciplinary research has blossomed over the past several decades. Positioning biological collections and their associated metadata as a key resource for addressing societal problems, such as the loss of biodiversity, global change, emerging infectious diseases, antibiotic resistance, and food security, would appeal to the many funding agencies with visionary research agendas. Working in partnership with other collections could be a successful strategy to raise funds, reduce costs, or pool resources, especially for small collections. Networks and consortia of collections have been very successful in obtaining funds for digitization through NSF’s CSBR and ADBC programs; local foundations or governments could be amenable to supporting ongoing or project needs of regional collections if they were confederated in some way, perhaps to support a local or regional biodiversity initiative. Collections consortia could also possibly reduce costs through shared supply orders to reduce unit costs, or by sharing equipment or other infrastructure (Parsons et al., 2013). The community of collections professionals—professional organizations, staff, and faculty members at institutions of all types and sizes—is a powerful resource that can provide guidance, training, and support across a range of issues (see Chapter 6). Through various means, the collections community reaches out to help struggling collections through letter-writing campaigns to collections institution administrators (e.g., to administrators at the University of Alaska in 2019), or temporary adoption of imperiled collections. In 2015, the New York Botanical Garden’s Steere Herbarium made room for the herbarium from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, whose building infrastructure was in a critical state of disrepair. The collections are protected and made available for study in their temporary home until they are either returned to their original home or ownership is formally transferred to the Steere Herbarium. Networks of collection professionals can play an important role in catalyzing the development of community-wide initiatives to benefit the wider collections community. CONCLUSIONS The importance of the nation’s biological collections to research and education calls for robust mechanisms to ensure their long-term financial stability. Physical infrastructure, cyberinfrastructure, workforce, and the evolving requirements for quality, accessibility, and usability of specimens and their associated data place growing financial demands on biological collections. The capability to not only maintain this infrastructure, but upgrade it to meet the multifaceted needs of science and society hinges on adequate funding. Central to this effort is the development of comprehensive business plans that include 146 Prepublication Copy

Securing Financial Sustainability estimates of the public funds needed to support the research that generated the collection and the infrastructure needs of the scientists that use collections as well as maintaining and providing access to the collections. Yet, not all biological collection leaders have sufficient expertise or support to develop comprehensive funding models, cultivate donor relationships, and engage the community of scientists and professionals who benefit from biological collections. Thus, efforts to identify new strategies for sustaining and growing biological collections will require both initiatives of individual biological collections as well as collaborative action of the biological collections community. A visionary collections community can accomplish this in two ways: develop compelling value propositions, business models, and strategic plans to implement and periodically assess their investments; and build partnerships to develop a national collections network to further the mission of collections in research and education. Researchers need to be encouraged to value not only the samples immediately relevant to their own research—and which may be lost to future researchers—but also the value of their specimens to future generations. As documented throughout this report, biological collections produce a wide range of benefits for science and education in the U.S. and the global community. The financial sustainability of the infrastructure that provides those benefits, from individual biological collections to a network of collections to the full portfolio of the nation’s biological collections, will require substantial attention, time, and expertise. Many individual biological collections do not currently have the resources to contribute to the comprehensive development of funding models. The biological collections community will need to act as one in order to develop partnerships, centralize a pooled set of data and resources, track the use of collections in research and education using diverse metrics (as described in Chapters 2 and 3) at the community level to show the national and international impact of U.S. collections, and identify new approaches to funding. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NEXT STEPS Recommendation 7-1: The leadership (managers and directors) of biological collections should work with business strategists and communication experts to develop business models for financial sustainability and infrastructure of biological collections. Included in this discussion should be the development of a mechanism to: • diversify funding portfolios and develop relationships with non-traditional partners who may provide collections support; • assess a per-specimen acquisition and maintenance cost. This assessment would depend on the size and nature of the collection—both physical and digital; and • explore revenue streams that could include pay-for-use models, the establishment of MTAs and licensing systems, or perhaps pay for value-added for digital datasets configured for a particular purpose. Each of these approaches must be done in ways that avoid driving costs to levels that are prohibitive for researchers. Recommendation 7-2: Professional societies should develop extensive networked training platforms for sharing best practices for financial management and planning and business models for collections of all sizes and types. This could be an ongoing activity centered at a national biological collections center and should include both natural history and living collections together. Recommendation 7-3: The NSF Directorate for Biological Sciences should continue to provide stable, long-term funding to support investigators who rely on biological collections for research and education. Specifically, it should: Prepublication Copy 147

Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century • work with other federal agencies to address research infrastructure support and needs; • provide funding for the management and infrastructure of the collections themselves; • collaborate with host institutions and other funders to establish new mechanisms and funding to collect, aggregate, and synthesize metrics to evaluate process and performance for biological collections; and • support the accessioning, curation, digitization, and long-term care of specimens as well as the publishing of their associated data through a mandated specimen management plan. REFERENCES Allmon, W. D. 1994. The value of natural history collections. Curator: The Museum Journal 37(2):83– 89. Anderson, R. P. 2012. Harnessing the world’s biodiversity data: Promise and peril in ecological niche modeling of species distributions. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1260:66–80. Baker, R. J., L. C. Bradley, R. D. Bradley, and H. J. Garner. 2014. “Door to drawer” costs of curation, installation, documentation, databasing, and long-term care of mammal voucher specimens in natural history collections. 323. Lubbock, TX: Museum of Texas Tech University. Boundy-Mills, K., K. McCluskey, P. Elia, J. A. Glaeser, D. L. Lindner, D. R. Nobles, Jr., J. Normanly, F. M. Ochoa-Corona, J. A. Scott, T. J. Ward, K. M. Webb, K. Webster, and J. E. Wertz. 2019. Preserving US microbe collections sparks future discoveries. Journal of Applied Microbiology 129(2):162–174. Bradley, R. D. 2012. Cost of collecting and preparing mammal voucher specimens for natural history collections. 313. Lubbock, TX: Museum of Texas Tech University. Chandras, C., T. Weaver, M. Zouberakis, D. Smedley, K. Schughart, N. Rosenthal, J. M. Hancock, G. Kollias, P. N. Schofield, and V. Aidinis. 2009. Models for financial sustainability of biological databases and resources. Database. Crane, K. The Costs and Value of Federal Scientific Collections. 2019. Presentation to Committee on Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century by Webinar on July 9, 2019. DiEuliis, D., K. R. Johnson, S. S. Morse, and D. E. Schindel. 2016. Opinion: Specimen collections should have a much bigger role in infectious disease research and response. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113(1):4–7. Freedman, L. P., I. M. Cockburn, and T. S. Simcoe. 2015. The economics of reproducibility in preclinical research. PLoS Biology 13(6):e1002165. George, S. B. Key Components of Sustainable Mission and Infrastructure for a Biological Collection. 2019. Presentation to Committee on Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century in Washington, DC, on February 7, 2019. Hazbón, M. H., L. Rigouts, M. Schito, M. Ezewudo, T. Kudo, T. Itoh, M. Ohkuma, K. Kiss, L. Wu, J. Ma, M. Hamada, M. Strong, M. Salfinger, C. L. Daley, J. A. Nick, J. S. Lee, N. Rastogi, D. Couvin, R. Hurtado-Ortiz, C. Bizet, A. Suresh, T. Rodwell, A. Albertini, K. A. Lacourciere, A. Deheer-Graham, S. Alexander, J. E. Russell, R. Bradford, and M. A. Riojas. 2018. Mycobacterial biomaterials and resources for researchers. Pathogens and Disease 76(4). Jamieson, K. H., D. Kahan, and D. Scheufele. 2017. The Oxford handbook of the science of science communication. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Lambert, J. 2019. Alaska governor halves massive funding cut to state university system. Nature, August 14. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02462-2 (accessed July 26, 2020). McCluskey, K. 2017. A review of living collections with special emphasis on sustainability and its impact on research across multiple disciplines. Biopreservation and Biobanking 15(1):20–30. 148 Prepublication Copy

Securing Financial Sustainability Meineke, E. K., T. J. Davies, B. H. Daru, and C. C. Davis. 2018. Biological collections for understanding biodiversity in the anthropocene. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 374(1763):20170386. Merritt, E. 2017. Future proofing museum business plans: Creating sustainable models for natural history research collections. Museum May/June 2017. NASEM (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine). 2017. Communicating science effectively: A research agenda. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. National Science and Technology Council, Committee on Science, Interagency Working Group on Scientific Collections. 2009. Scientific collections: Mission-critical infrastructure of federal science agencies. Washington, DC: Office of Science and Technology Policy. NRC (National Research Council). 2011. Designing the microbial research commons: Proceedings of an international symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Nudds, J. R., C. W. Pettitt, L. Geological Society of, and M. Manchester. The value and valuation of natural science collections: Proceedings of the International Conference, Manchester, 1995, 1997, London. Parsons, J. P., and C. S. Duke. 2013. Strategies for developing and innovating living stocks collections: An ESA workshop report. Ecological Society of America 94(1):118–129. Rabeler, R. K., H. T. Svoboda, B. Thiers, L. A. Prather, J. A. Macklin, L. P. Lagomarsino, L. C. Majure, and C. J. Ferguson. 2019. Herbarium practices and ethics, iii. Systematic Botany 44(1):7–13, 17. Reiser, L., T. Z. Berardini, D. Li, R. Muller, E. M. Strait, Q. Li, Y. Mezheritsky, A. Vetushko, and E. Huala. 2016. Sustainable funding for biocuration: The arabidopsis information resource (TAIR) as a case study of a subscription-based funding model. Database: The Journal of Biological Databases and Curation 2016:baw018. Schindel, D. E., and J. A. Cook. 2018. The next generation of natural history collections. PLoS Biology 16(7):e2006125. Smith, D., K. McCluskey, and E. Stackebrandt. 2014. Investment into the future of microbial resources: Culture collection funding models and BRC business plans for biological resource centres. SpringerPlus 3:81. Suarez, A. V., and N. D. Tsutsui. 2004. The value of museum collections for research and society. BioScience 54(1):66–74. Thiers, B., R. Rivas, and E. Kiernan. 2018. Using data from index herbariorum to assess threats to the world’s herbaria. Biodiversity Information Science and Standards 2:e26440. Wandeler, P., P. E. Hoeck, and L. F. Keller. 2007. Back to the future: Museum specimens in population genetics. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 22(12):634–642. Prepublication Copy 149

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Biological collections are a critical part of the nation's science and innovation infrastructure and a fundamental resource for understanding the natural world. Biological collections underpin basic science discoveries as well as deepen our understanding of many challenges such as global change, biodiversity loss, sustainable food production, ecosystem conservation, and improving human health and security. They are important resources for education, both in formal training for the science and technology workforce, and in informal learning through schools, citizen science programs, and adult learning. However, the sustainability of biological collections is under threat. Without enhanced strategic leadership and investments in their infrastructure and growth many biological collections could be lost.

Biological Collections: Ensuring Critical Research and Education for the 21st Century recommends approaches for biological collections to develop long-term financial sustainability, advance digitization, recruit and support a diverse workforce, and upgrade and maintain a robust physical infrastructure in order to continue serving science and society. The aim of the report is to stimulate a national discussion regarding the goals and strategies needed to ensure that U.S. biological collections not only thrive but continue to grow throughout the 21st century and beyond.

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