Open Modeling Foundation Charter
Adopted December 8, 2021
A globally connected humanity is now a major driver of diverse Earth system processes, creating a complex, planetary socio-ecological-technological system that exceeds our innate capacity to anticipate the consequences of societal decisions and actions. Modeling is critical to enhancing ethical analytical and decision-making capabilities for policy and planning, environmental management, resource investment, and security preparedness.
Our vision is to enable open and ethical modeling efforts across domains of human and Earth systems sciences and engineering to work together to provide an integrated representation of the complex world in which we now live. This vision can be realized through a common suite of ethics, standards, protocols, and best practices that enables modeling scientists to share knowledge and build on one another’s research.
Mission and Goals
The Open Modeling Foundation (OMF) is an international open science community that works to enable the next generation modeling of human and natural systems. The Open Modeling Foundation is an alliance of modeling organizations that coordinates and administers a common, community developed body of standards and best practices among diverse communities of modeling scientists. It also provides informational, data, and technological resources to facilitate the implementation of common standards and best practices among the scientific communities it serves. We seek to promote a diverse, equitable and inclusive modeling science community as expressly articulated in our values statement.
The OMF supports the work of all modeling scientists endeavoring to advance the understanding of diverse dimensions of our complexly interacting human and natural world. The OMF promotes cooperation and transparent knowledge exchange among modeling scientists through common standards and best practices. The OMF develops and maintains an open-access, community framework for enabling an ecosystem of reusable, interoperable models to study complex interactions between people and the environment at multiple scales. The OMF allows scientists and planners world-wide to contribute to developing modeling approaches and applying them to help sustainably manage our planet. Because sustainability is a global challenge, it is important to engage the world in developing and deploying the science needed for this endeavor, and democratize advanced modeling to ensure that all members of our global human community have access to the scientific and decision tools they need.
The OMF endeavors to accelerate modeling science by making models more easily discoverable and globally accessible. It also develops and administers a suite of common standards and technology for model reusability, reproducibility, and interoperability.The OMF also promotes the recognition of those who endeavor to apply these standards and best practices through the ethical practice of fully citing models and model authors, whenever their work is used by others. The OMF supports training and educational programs that help modeling scientists develop their skills, learn best practices, and share expertise. OMF member organizations promote transparency and ethical practice of crediting the work of modeling scientists in all domains.
In these ways, the Open Modeling Foundation seeks to enable the many scientists across the world who are represented by its member organizations to contribute to nimble, effective modeling of natural systems, human systems, and their integration at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Through fostering innovative modeling science, the Open Modeling Foundation endeavors to help humanity confront rapidly changing and ever more complex and global issues, and improve human well-being.
The Open Modeling Foundation carries out a series of coordinated activities to further its vision, mission, and goals under the guidance and with the support of the OMF Executive Committee, Members Council, Working Groups, and member organizations. These activities include, but are not limited to the following.
Community Standards for Modeling Science
The OMF coordinates and administers the development or adoption of pan-community standards that accelerate knowledge scaffolding among modeling scientists, and promote the creation and use of more reusable, replicable, interoperable, and reliable models. These standards include, but are not limited to:
Discoverability and Accessibility: Standards for accessibility ensure that model code is available in FAIR-aligned digital repositories (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) and that model developers receive public recognition and professional credit for code they make accessible in this way.
Documentation: Standards for model documentation ensure that information accompanying model code is sufficiently comprehensive to enable others besides a model developer to understand and potentially replicate the purpose and operation of a model.
Reusability and Replicability: Standards aim to facilitate the reuse of a model by others beyond the context in which the model was originally developed; for computational models this includes reusability regardless of the operating system or language in which a model was originally developed. Replicability is not possible without reusability.
Interoperability: Standards to enable potential interoperability among different models include pan-community external API and vocabulary (ontology) specifications.
Recognition: Standards for the proper citation of model authors and model code in publications, any other public documents, datasets, and software whenever a model is referred to or contributes to any other research, work, or product.
The OMF coordinates and administers the certification of models that meet these standards and the assignment of badges or other public indicators of such certification to the general modeling community for code that meets these standards. The OMF also encourages and coordinates peer review of models by the scientific community and other evaluation activities, like model intercomparison programs, to help identify models that meet community standards, and enhance the reliability and value of models.
OMF modeling standards are living documents that should be reviewed and updated as technology and the needs of the international modeling community evolve. The OMF welcomes and encourages input on standards from members of the broader modeling community and will consider that input as part of the formal standards-making, review, and approval procedures.
In addition to standards applicable to model code, the OMF also develops, adopts, and administers community-wide standards for ethical practice by modeling scientists. In order to encourage knowledge exchanges and scaffolding, all modeling scientists should publicly credit (normally through citation) the work of any other scientists that they use. In order to maintain the reliability and public reputation of modeling science, practitioners must document accurately model purposes, operations, inputs, boundaries, assumptions, and results. Modeling scientists are also strongly urged to make all models transparent and open to external examination, and to make their models openly accessible to others.
These standards for models and modeling science practice are disseminated to all member organizations and publicly displayed on the OMF website.
Resources to Facilitate Model Discoverability, Accessibility, Reuse and Interoperability
The OMF may coordinate or develop technologies and databases to help modeling scientists make their models more easily reusable by others and more easily interoperable with other models. Examples of such resources could be software or online services to help scientists containerize computational models in environments like Docker, to transform them into web services, or to add a standardized API to models. Related to this, the OMF may also coordinate or help develop and maintain a common ontology database to facilitate interoperability.
The OMF may also adopt and promote common metadata standards for model code repositories to improve discoverability and access for models located across diverse, internationl archives.
It may also develop and maintain a global, online index to non-computational models (e.g., numerical, and conceptual) that meet OMF standards for documentation, reuse, and transparency.
The OMF may make available to modeling scientists information and guidance about Open Source licensing and other practices for making their work globally accessible.
Training and Education
The OMF will provide a forum for disseminating materials for teaching best practices for model documentation, transparency, reuse, and interoperability to students in educational institutions. Related to this, the OMF may sponsor training activities to help scientists learn how to make their models more transparent, well-documented, reusable by others, or interoperable with other models. This training could involve in-person workshops, webinars and virtual conferences, or training videos.
Coordination and Partnerships with Other Organizations
The OMF will actively engage with other organizations supporting open, ethical science. It will do so in order to support and promote best practices for modeling science. This could include adopting standards for ethical practice, identifying open access repositories for model code and other information, and obtaining support for licensing and related legal issues.
The OMF also will actively engage with journals that publish the results of modeling science. It will encourage these journals to actively support OMF standards by requiring scientists to meet these standards in order to publish their work, and assigning digital badges or other public recognition of authors who do so.
The Open Modeling Foundation, through its Executive Committee, Working Groups, and its member organizations, will seek external funding to support the activities of the foundation.
Depending on resource availability, the Open Modeling Foundation may undertake other activities in support of modeling science and scientists. Identifying, prioritizing, and coordinating such activities will be the responsibility of the Executive Committee, Members Council, and Working Groups.
Organization and Governance
Open Modeling Foundation organization schematic diagram
The Open Modeling Foundation is composed of organizations, individual modeling scientists, and students preparing for careers in modeling science. The organization and governance of the Open Modeling Foundation is designed to achieve the following goals:
- It should enable the foundation to carry out its mission and goals, and realize its vision in the most effective way possible and with the least necessary intervention on the part of OMF governance.
- It should provide an open and equitable voice to all member communities it represents.
- It should offer opportunities for all modeling scientists to participate and contribute to the goals and activities of the OMF.
- It should represent the diversity of individuals within the broad modeling community, and intentionally facilitate participation of diverse communities historically underrepresented within modeling science.
- It should enable and promote modeling science that benefits both human and natural systems on our planet.
The policies and activities of Open Modeling Foundation are administered by shared, multi-level governance that includes an Executive Director (ED), an Executive Committee (EC), a Members Council (MC), and several Working Groups. The Members Council is the primary OMF governing body, responsible for approving policies, procedures, and standards. The Executive Committee manages and administers OMF activities, following policies, procedures, and standards approved by the Members Council. The Director and Executive committee are assisted by a Project Coordinator and a Cyberinfrastructure Support team. The working groups will organize key activity sets of the OMF. Additionally, early career next-generation scientists can participate in the activities of the OMF through the OMF Early Career Scholars. Organizations that do not wish to become full members, and individuals who do not wish to join a working group can still be associated with the OMF to a more limited extent as OMF Affiliates. This organization is represented schematically in the attached diagram.
The Open Modeling Foundation Members Council represents formally constituted organizations composed of or representing an active community of modelers in the social and natural sciences. Formally constituted organizations should have an accessible, documented governance structure. Examples of such organizations include scientific networks, professional societies, research institutes, national laboratories, other government agencies, research centers or laboratories recognized by academic institutions, or commercial enterprises. Any such organization can be nominated for membership in the OMF or self-nominate. Any organization seeking membership in the OMF MC, must agree to support the mission, goals, ethics, and values of the OMF, as described in this charter and the OMF values statement, to promote OMF approved standards, and to provide professional recognition to researchers engaged in standards-based modeling. Members are expected to provide a representative to participate and vote in all Members Council meetings. Nominations for membership will be evaluated by the Executive Committee and presented to the Membership Council for approval by a majority of the Council.
Each member organization is represented on the Members Council by a single voting individual, and an individual only represents a single organization as a voting representative. The Members Council reviews and approves OMF policies and modeling standards. It provides advice and support to the Executive Director, Executive Committee, and Working Groups for carrying out governance policies, creating and administering standards, and carrying out other activities. It also facilitates communication between the Open Modeling Foundation and modeling scientists represented by OMF member organizations.
The Members Council will meet at least semi-annually in person and/or virtually.
In order for a Members Council vote to be valid, it must be approved by a majority of a quorum of members. Unless explicitly specified otherwise in this charter, a quorum is at least 51% of the representatives in the Members Council. A resolution for any amendment to the Charter can only be adopted with a majority of at least two-thirds of the valid votes cast in a meeting at which at least two-thirds of the Members Council participates. Voting may be conducted over a pre-determined time period with votes cast in person, electronically, or both in order to allow for asynchronous voting.
Joining and Leaving the Members Council
Qualifying organizations may request to become a member of the Open Modeling Foundation and join the Members Council by addressing a letter of request to the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee will review the request and decide whether or not to refer the request to the Members Council for final approval. If a majority of the Member Council votes to approve the request, the organization becomes a member of the Open Modeling Foundation and can send a voting representative to the Members Council.
Every five years, each member organization in good standing must reaffirm in writing its intent to remain a member of the Open Modeling Foundation. This written affirmation of intent to remain a member in good standing should be addressed to the Executive Committee.
An organization can leave the Open Modeling Foundation by addressing a letter to the Executive Committee expressing its intent to leave the OMF, specifying the effective date of leaving. An organization can be suspended or permanently removed from the Open Modeling Foundation if it is found to engage in illegal or unethical practice, violates the Open Modeling Foundation Values, or becomes inactive by failing to participate in Members Council meetings for two consecutive years, without excused absence. A request to consider removing a member organization can be made by a minimum of 10% of the Members Council in the form of a letter to the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee will review the request, compile relevant information from all parties, and refer the matter to a vote of the Members Council with a recommendation to approve or deny the request. A majority of at least two-thirds of the valid votes cast in a meeting at which at least two-thirds of the Members Council participates is needed to remove an organization from the Open Modeling Foundation. If the Members Council votes to remove an organization from the Open Modeling Foundation, removal is effective immediately. There is no appeal to this vote of removal. However, after a period of not less than one year, an organization can request to rejoin the Open Modeling Foundation. Such a request will be considered like any new request to join the Open Modeling Foundation.
The Executive Director must be a member of an OMF member organization and is elected by a majority vote of the Members Council to serve for renewable five year terms. The Executive Director oversees and administers the daily activities and fiscal management of the Open Modeling Foundation. These Executive Director responsibilities are shared with the Executive Committee. The Executive Director calls and chairs meetings of the Executive Committee and Members Council, or identifies a substitute from the EC if unable to do so.
Voting members of the Executive Committee are composed of:
- the leaders of each Working Group and
- three representatives elected from the Members Council.
Elected members of the EC serve staggered three-year terms.
Non-voting members of the Executive Committee are composed of:
- the Executive Director (who may vote to break ties in the EC),
- the Administrative Coordinator,
- a representative of the Cyberinfrastructure and Education Support team, and
- a representative from the OMF Early Career Scholars
The Executive Committee ensures that the activities of the Open Modeling Foundation further its vision, mission, and goals as expressed in this charter. It oversees all elections and any other selection of individuals involved in OMF activities to ensure that qualified, ethical individuals who are dedicated to the foundation’s vision, mission, and goals are chosen to fill their roles in the OMF. It also oversees the Working Group activities to ensure that they are carrying out their respective responsibilities in an appropriate and effective manner, consistent with the vision, mission, and goals of the OMF. The Executive Committee receives and evaluates all nominations for membership in the Open Modeling Foundation, and submits them to the Members Council for review and approval vote. The Executive Committee identifies potential ED candidates and proposes them to the MC. The Executive Committee also assists the ED in managing funding and financial expenditures of the OMF, in accordance with the OM vision, mission, and goals. The Executive Committee may propose changes to the OMF Charter for review and approval by the Membership Council.
The Executive Committee will meet at least quarterly each year. The Executive Committee is supported by OMF staff including an Administrative Coordinator and technical staff.
The Executive Director and EC are supported by an Administrative Coordinator (AC) who coordinates OMF activities and helps the ED evaluate their effectiveness. The AC is appointed by the ED, with approval from the EC. The AC facilitates communication among OMF member organizations, including organizing in-person and virtual meetings, and disseminates the results of these meetings. They also disseminate OMF draft and final approved documents (e.g., modeling standards) and compile information about OMF activities for dissemination on the OMF Science Gateway. The AC helps the ED to compile evaluation metrics to report to the MC, and facilitates communication between Working Groups, the EC, the MC, and stakeholders.
Open Modeling Foundation Working Groups coordinate key activities, enabling a diverse spectrum of modeling scientists to participate directly in OMF activities and self-governance and ensuring that it can fullfill its vision, mission, and goals. Working Groups and their activities are described in a separate document.
Any modeling scientist can join a Working Group. Working Groups self organize, with support from the Executive Committee, and nominate at least two Working Group Co-Chairs, for approval by the Members Council. Working Group Chairs serve for a three-year, renewable term. Working Groups meet as needed, at least annually, in person and/or via videoconferencing.
Proposing and Disbanding Working Groups
Working Groups may be proposed by the Executive Committee to oversee and coordinate OMF activities. The establishment of any new working groups must be approved by the Members Council. Working Groups can also be disbanded by proposal by the Executive Committee and approval by the Members Council.
Limited Term Task Groups
Special Task Groups to address specific issues over a limited time frame can be proposed by the Executive Committee. Task Groups are automatically disbanded at the end of their predetermined time frame, not to exceed two years with the possibility of renewal.
Joining and Leaving Working Groups
Individuals may request to become a member of an Open Modeling Foundation Working Group by a written notification of request to the Working Group leaders, with approval by the Executive Committee. Any individuals seeking to join a Working Group must agree to support the mission, goals, ethics, and values of the OMF as described in this charter and the OMF values statement, to promote OMF approved standards, and to provide professional recognition to researchers engaged in standards-based modeling. An individual intending to leave a Working Group should notify Working Group leaders in writing of this intent. Working Group leaders are expected to maintain an up-to-date listing of Working Group membership.
An individual can be suspended or permanently removed from an Open Modeling Foundation Working Group if they are found to engage in illegal or unethical practice, violate the Open Modeling Foundation Values, or become inactive by failing to participate in Working Group meetings for two consecutive years without excused absence. A request to consider removing a Working Group member can be made by the Working Group leaders in the form of a letter to the Executive Committee, describing the reasons why removal should be considered. The Executive Committee will review the request, compile relevant information from all parties, and refer the matter to a vote of the Members Council with a recommendation to approve or deny the request. A vote of the majority of at least two-thirds of the valid votes cast in a meeting at which at least two-thirds of the Members Council participates is needed to remove an individual from an Open Modeling Foundation Working Group. If the Members Council votes to remove an individual from a Working Group, removal is effective immediately. There is no appeal to this vote of removal. However, after a period of not less than one year, an individual can request to rejoin an Open Modeling Foundation Working Group. Such a request will be considered like any new request to join a Working Group.
Cyberinfrastructure and Technical Support Staff
The Cyberinfrastructure and Technical Support (CTS) staff coordinates development and management of the OMF Science Gateway, and online platform for collaborative governance and standards. CTS works to identify or develop tools and processes which serve to lower the technical barriers towards adoption of OMF standards, and ways to best deploy these tools to enable their use by modeling scientists. CTS staff assist the EOWG in developing online training modules and disseminating them on the OMF Gateway.
Early Career Scholars
The Early Career Scholars helps the Open Modeling Foundation to support student and early career development. The ECS is open to any student enrolled in an institution of higher learning (e.g., college or university) or early career scholar. The ECS provides input to Working Groups and the Executive Committee. The ECS can organize student-focused programs and events, assisted by the Administrative Coordinator and EOWG. Members of the ECS elect a leader to represent the ECS on the Executive Committee.
Joining and Leaving the Early Career Scholars
Individuals may request to become a member of the Open Modeling Foundation Early Career Scholars by a written notification of request to the OMF Administrative Coordinator, with approval of the Executive Committee. Any individuals seeking to join the ECS must agree to support the mission, goals, ethics, and values of the OMF, as described in this charter and the OMF values statement, to promote OMF approved standards, and to provide professional recognition to researchers engaged in standards-based modeling. An individual intending to leave the ECS should notify the Administrative Coordinator in writing of this intent.
An individual can be suspended or permanently removed from the Open Modeling Foundation ECS if they are found to engage in illegal or unethical practice, violate the Open Modeling Foundation Values, become inactive by failing to participate in ECS meetings or other activities for two consecutive years without excused absence, or becoming no longer qualified for membership as an ECS. A request to consider removing an ECS member can be made by the ECS leadership in the form of a letter to the Executive Committee, describing the reasons why removal should be considered. The Executive Committee will review the request, compile relevant information from all parties, and refer the matter to a vote of the Members Council with a recommendation to approve or deny the request. A vote of the majority of at least two-thirds of the valid votes cast in a meeting at which at least two-thirds of the Members Council participates is needed to remove an individual from the Open Modeling Foundation ECS. If the Members Council votes to remove an individual from the ECS, removal is effective immediately. There is no appeal to this vote of removal. However, after a period of not less than one year, an individual can request to rejoin the Open Modeling Foundation ECS. Such a request will be considered like any new request to join the ECS.
Open Modeling Foundation Affiliates
While the OMF encourages the modeling community and other stakeholders to participate through a member organization or belonging to Working Group, these options may not be possible for all organizations (e.g., organizations who share OMF goals but are focused on other forms of data or software) or individuals (e.g, individuals who do not belong to a member organization and cannot participate in a Working Group for professional or other limitations). OMF Affiliates offers a formal way to receive regular information about OMF activities (e.g., mailing list or newsletter) and communicate with different components of the OMF. OMF Affiliates can chose a representative to attend Members Council meeting, but do not have voting rights and are not represented in the Executive Committee.
Joining and Leaving the Open Modeling Foundation Affiliates
Individuals may request to become a member of the Open Modeling Foundation Affiliates by a written notification of request to the OMF Administrative Coordinator. Any individuals seeking to join the OMF Affiliates, must agree to support the mission, goals, ethics, and values of the OMF, as described in this charter and the OMF values statement, to promote OMF approved standards, and to provide professional recognition to researchers engaged in standards-based modeling. An individual intending to formally leave the Affiliates should notify the Administrative Coordinator in writing of this intent.
An individual can be suspended or permanently removed from the Open Modeling Foundation Affiliates if they are found to engage in illegal or unethical practice or violate the Open Modeling Foundation Values. A request to consider removing an Affiliate can be made by any OMF member in good standing in the form of a letter to the Executive Committee, describing the reasons why removal should be considered. The Executive Committee will review the request, compile relevant information from all parties, and decide to remove the individual from the Affiliates list. A removal is effective immediately without appeal. However, after a period of not less than one year, an individual can request to rejoin the Open Modeling Foundation Affiliates. Such a request will be considered like any new request to join the Affiliates.
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