Dave Roberts & Simon Rycroft (NHM)


Open Source. Download the Scratchpad software
Smith, Vincent, Simon Rycroft, Irina Brake, Ben Scott, Edward Baker, Laurence Livermore, Vladimir Blagoderov, and David Roberts. "Scratchpads 2.0: a Virtual Research Environment supporting scholarly collaboration, communication and data publication in biodiversity science." ZooKeys 150 (2011): 53-70.

The Scratchpad environment was created under the EU project EDIT whose funding finished in 2010. At that time the Natural History Museum gave an undertaking to support their continuation for a further 5 years. The Museum was able to offer that assurance because the cost of keeping the web sites live was only a few hundred Euros per year, irrespective of how many sites were present of the server. We therefore consider that the long-term preservation of the data and access to it is unlikely to be a serious problem and will be underwritten by institutions.

The Museum did not agree to continue development and without upgrading the software systems would soon fall out of use. ViBRANT was funded to extend the Scratchpad system and to support integration with a variety of other services.

As part of our Grant Agreement, all products of ViBRANT are open-source. Our strategy is to encourage other sites to install the software and to federate their Scratchpad instances into a shared back-up system. In so doing, we intend that other developers will join in the support of the overall enterprise. ViBRANT is working towards this goal during its funding period (until the end of 2013) and we will evaluate and refine this strategy as we go forward.

Other parts of the ViBRANT community will evolve their own sustainability strategies as their products mature.