The Responsible Resource Creator Manifesto (Draft)


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Why a Responsible Resource Creator Manifesto?

All too often resources and materials created for our sector are not properly maintained or cared for after their release.  Many of us who rely on these resources have been frustrated by sudden inaccessibility of materials we’ve grown to rely on.  As someone who has been involved with and also driven the creation of countless materials, I’ve had my own questions about duty of care beyond the launch and follow-up evaluation (which is usually how far the funding goes).

This draft of the Responsible Resource Creator Manifesto was created at the Responsible Data Forum in Budapest (#RDFBuda), September 30th to October 1st, 2014. RDFBuda was co-organized by Aspiration and the engine room. Kristin Antin, Arthit Suriyawongkul and I worked on it during the event. We also got comment and input from other participants at RDFBuda. Jessica Dheere also contributed to this draft. You can find our notes from those sessions here: https://wiki.responsibledata.io/Resource_creator_manifesto.

A previous draft had been created at https://www.theengineroom.org/manifesto-for-human-rights-resource-creators/, along with notes on why this needed to be created at: https://www.theengineroom.org/nobody-puts-data-in-a-corner/.  Kristin Antin, Jessica Dheere, Alix Dunn, Christopher Wilson and Becky Hurwitz were the driving forces behind that version.

I don’t think anyone involved in the drafting of this manifesto see it as a set of strict rules, but simply a guide for those that are in the process of developing and planning the creation of a resource or concerned about the care of an existing one.

The Draft Manifesto

Preamble

As individuals working within movements fighting for rights and justice, we believe in transparency, collaboration, open data, and shared knowledge.  We strongly believe that resource creators should strive to be accountable to the communities they aim to serve. Content creators should not dictate the accessibility by the user, and should strive to make their resources as accessible as it can be. We, as resource creators, should act in the best interest of our users. When content gets removed should not be dictated by the creator, but by the users.

We are merely stewards to all those who supported and contributed to the creation of the resource. We also have a duty to other members of our resource creation community to make our materials known and accessible so there isn’t duplication of effort or ‘recreation of the wheel.’

Therefore, we: 

  • Article 1. Make resources accessible to communities that would find it useful. Accessibility includes physical access to the resource, multiple formats, language, relevance, findability  (reference-ready), along with ability to reuse and repurpose (see licensing). Our distribution plans are of vital importance to that access, along with the ability for the resource to be adapted:
    • as technologies, contexts, trends and needs evolve
    • for different cultures and communities that it might be relevant for
  • Article 2. Strive for maximum transparency, particularly around the inception and development phase by stating: 
    • who created and supported it (monetarily or otherwise), 
    • The intended audience and their context
    • how it was tested for quality and effectiveness
    • the date of creation and/or release
  • Article 3. Aim to put the community at the center by first deciding with them if they actually need your resource,
    • clearly articulating the benefit and value to the community, and
    • collaborating with them in the creation and use of the resource. 
  • Article 4.  Believe that you attain greater quality by shaing drafts widely and often, not just with the user communities, but also to the resource creation community to assure the efficiency and effectiveness of the resource.
  • Article 5.  Are aware of format, structure, and licensing of the resource so that beneficiaries can localize, reference, reuse, and repurpose
  • Article 6.  Use licensing that allows for re-use and modification. Clarify ways in which the resource can be contributed to, corrected or updated. This is particularly important with regard to translation. A non-derivative license prohibits translation without permission.
  • Article 7. Attribute all contributors, particularly front-line and on-the-ground people whose experiences have provided core knowledge. Acknowledge past efforts and expertise that has contributed to the development of the resource.
  • Article 8. Make release dates clear and visible along with an estimate of how-long it is likely to remain relevant (or provide indicators of its obsolescences) 
  • Article 9. Have a plan for archiving that includes participatory decision-making with the community. For example, when the content is declared obsolete, how will the resource be accessed by the beneficiaries? Ensure that a description of the resource is embedded (Meta) in the resource itself, including dates (creation, updates, expiration). We encourage the use of existing stable archivers such as archive.org and github.
  • Article 10. Monitor & evaluate its effectiveness based on its benefit and value to the community (and not merely numbers of distribution) by building in periodic review of by the user community after the resource has been launched.

So what do you think?

This draft of the Responsible Resource Creator Manifesto (draft) is published here as a blog post in order to get comments from the wider community. What do you think of this draft?  Do you think it’s needed? Helpful?  Any thing we could add or edit that might make it better?  Please leave a comment below.