Another approach is to identify or construct governance structures that would allow new kinds of relationships between academic institutions and vendors – commercial or otherwise. While members of the academic community often participate in the “governance” of commercial vendors in an advisory capacity, they rarely have the opportunity to do so from a position where they can exert real operational influence – such as a position on a fiduciary board. If a critical mass of academic institutions were to demand such a role, interesting new opportunities for community-aligned governance could be explored.
It is vital for the governing bodies of infrastructure services to include representation from the communities they serve in order to ensure that management stays accountable to the community’s evolving needs. Iterations of this approach have long been a part of the governance of Open Software initiatives, some of which might serve as useful foundations for governance models in other types of infrastructure. Governance bodies should be deliberate about considering which voices are important to include, and strive for diverse representation across a wide cross-section of factors, including institution type, geographic location, career stage, gender identity, racial or ethnic identity, disciplinary background, as well as other relevant factors.