Mission and Values
The Educopia Institute empowers collaborative communities to create, share, and preserve knowledge.
We believe in the power of connection and collaboration. In all of our work, we encourage knowledge sharing and network building across institutions, communities, and sectors. Our strengths include sustainability planning, community engagement strategies, facilitation, and administrative backbone support services for collaborative communities. Educopia also develops and manages applied research projects that benefit our affiliated communities and the broader information fields of libraries, archives, and museums.
We help information stakeholders including researchers, archivists, curators, publishers, and students to establish common ground, work toward shared goals, and ultimately achieve system-wide transformations.
Since its founding in 2006, the Educopia Institute has laid a foundation for sustainable growth and programmatic success by:
- Maintaining a minimal and flexible staff, enabling us to serve clients with maximum effectiveness at low cost.
- Working with community leaders to harness state-of-the-field research while developing organizational frameworks, governance structures, and economic models that provide the foundation for community-driven growth and sustainability.
- Engaging and partnering with diverse stakeholders from public and private spheres representing libraries, archives, presses, research centers and scholars, as well as cultural and scientific non-profits, government agencies and fellow meta-organizations.
Growing beyond its initial support of the MetaArchive Cooperative, the Educopia Institute has entered into program development partnerships with affiliated communities, such as the Library Publishing Coalition and the BitCurator Consortium.
We nurture communities that nurture their members.
Educopia recognizes that communities are made up of people, and that the community thrives when its individual members do. We encourage bridge-building and collaboration, and we cultivate a sense of nurturing and kindness across all of our initiatives.
We strive for a welcoming, safe, supportive environment for all.
Educopia works to create conditions for inclusivity in our community structures, spaces, and interactions – for example, through a focus on anti-racism, feminism, and accessibility. Our organizational structures, community governance models, and facilitation approaches are designed to create space for multiple perspectives, including those that are traditionally underrepresented or marginalized.
We empower community members to take collective action.
Educopia believes communities should be member-owned and controlled, with the power to make their own strategic, operational, and financial decisions. We use facilitation and assessment techniques that center the needs of community members.
We strive for systemic change.
Educopia helps organizations across different domains work together to develop and to demand more open, accessible, and affordable systems to support knowledge production, collection, preservation, and dissemination.
We value open exchange of and access to knowledge.
Educopia contributes to the community of open knowledge in order to remove barriers to information and advance open access initiatives. We aim to be transparent about the assumptions that underlie our research and community facilitation processes, and we freely share our tools and frameworks so that others may build upon, improve, and benefit from our work.
We value radical transparency coupled with reliability and responsiveness.
Educopia strives for transparency in our organizational processes, hiring practices, finances, and values. We take responsibility for our communities, their activities, and their outputs, and we support a culture of professional honesty and integrity.
Every activity we undertake is explicitly designed to encourage system-wide transformation as organizations work collectively to ensure knowledge is sustainably produced, widely shared, and preserved.
Educopia’s work is overseen by an all-volunteer board representing the professional and academic fields that have an active interest in the organization’s mission and vision.
The executive director leads the Educopia Institute’s day-to-day operations. The executive director proposes to the Board new opportunities, strategic partnerships, and ongoing directions for the Institute’s research projects and affiliated communities. This role is a paid, full-time position.
The board of directors works closely with the executive director to ensure all work undertaken by Educopia fulfills its mission and that its operations remain financially stable and sustainable. The Board approves budgets, oversees audits, and reviews all prospective plans and proposals. It also evaluates the results of Educopia’s work during its quarterly meetings.
Members of the board are not employees of Educopia Institute and are not paid for serving on the board. There is a non-compensation clause in the bylaws concerning board service.
John ShererVice President
Katherine SkinnerInterim Secretary
Adele Godoy Vrana
The Educopia Institute is run by a small group of individuals with a passion for building communities, connecting like-minded people, and using collective action to advance institutions of all kinds.
Connecting, collaborating and building communities around shared goals since 2006.
Filling a Critical Gap
Educopia was founded in 2006 to fill a critical gap in the information management landscape by providing a lightweight, inexpensive administrative infrastructure to facilitate and coordinate the work of collaborative communities.
We created an organizational structure that would energize a community of players to do their work in concert for mutual benefit and maximum impact — while ensuring that the joint work serves to complement, not supplant, the vital work done in their local institutions.
Since Educopia’s founding, we have maintained a neutral center that assists member institutions in our communities, empowering them to interact as peers instead of participating in a hierarchy of “lead institution” and partners. Educopia operates in an intentionally lean, nimble framework that privileges a decentralized model of member participation rather than storing up knowledge and infrastructure centrally. Every activity we undertake is explicitly designed to foster communities of engagement, and to encourage system-wide changes that empower and enable libraries, archives, museums, and other institutions to increase the availability and sustainability of knowledge in all forms.
Casting a Wider Net
System-wide change requires system-wide involvement.
To put it another way: we cannot make system-level progress by treating institution-level interests.
Right now, most networks don’t yet include all of the players necessary to bring about systemic change. Libraries, archives, museums, publishers, and researchers have largely worked within their own silos, but each is an essential player within a bigger system of knowledge creation and dissemination. Bridging these stakeholders to catalyze change is our core purpose.