In this blog, we explain what ResearchEquals Supporting Memberships are, why we are (re)introducing them, and how you can become an individual or institutional supporting member.
It is clear to us that what we are doing with ResearchEquals is not a technological change, it is a social one — that means your involvement matters.
What is a supporting membership?
Supporting memberships are a community based approach to how ResearchEquals evolves. They come with membership dues (€79.99 per year or €9.99 per month) and together we build a network of people with one common denominator: To make all research work visible.
As a supporting member, you get front row in shaping ResearchEquals. Every member has equal voice regardless of whether you are a professor, junior researcher, citizen scientist, or even an institute. One member, one vote.
With a supporting membership you also get certain rights:
- The right to request information
- The right to petition for action or to desist action
- The right to block third party acquisitions
This means that supporting members get to be more informed, have a direct line to make specific things happen, and provide a counterweight to the many acquisitions we see by big corporations. The right to block third party acquisitions is legally implemented in our Poison Pill Agreement.
Supporting members are convened at least four times a year at our virtual-first General Assemblies. Here we celebrate achievements, provide updates on our business development, hold space for tough conversations, and get to know our accomplices no matter where they are coming from. Every assembly is a unique opportunity to shape ResearchEquals together.
Why supporting memberships?
Community is serious business and trust needs to be built continuously.
We want you to be able to trust we're in this for the right reasons. The Poison Pill Agreement sets a clear message: No shares may change hands without supporting members’ consent. If they do, there will be a financial penalty equal to the sum of the transaction, which goes directly to the supporting members.
The Poison Pill means that if shares would be sold (without consent) for ten million euro’s with 100 supporting members at that time, each supporting member would receive a €100,000 penalty fee from the business. This makes any transaction without the consent of supporting members much less attractive to begin with. The poison pill helps prevent a non-agreeable situation from happening.
We also want to imagine, realize, and promote more just futures together with you. Supporting members will be consulted at general assemblies about how to allocate future profits. Are there projects we could support as a community? Are there things we think need to be experimented with? What could we imagine if we have €100,000; a million; ten million? We are not there (yet), but we dream big and we imagine of what we can achieve together.
We see supporting memberships as a way to train all of us to organize. ResearchEquals cannot change for any one individual only, yet we need a way to decide what we collectively want. We cannot make impactful changes alone, yet if we keep talking about what each of us individually thinks, we will not be able to make collective decisions when we disagree. When profits arrive, we need to be able to decide what to do with them. We need training.
Finally, one key motivation: Commons based approaches only work when there is a clearly defined boundary. Who is entitled access to what? ResearchEquals remains an open-source project, but we cannot cater to everyone all the time. Supporting memberships permit us a clear boundary of the commons we are building.
Where do I sign up?
You are able to sign up for your own Supporting Membership right now, directly in ResearchEquals. When you go to the ResearchEquals dashboard, you can sign up through the following action:
Organizations can become supporting members too — for a minimum yearly contribution of €2,500. Each organization's logo will be displayed on the ResearchEquals website as a supporting member and one representative will get access like everyone else. Contact our CEO directly at email@example.com to start the conversation for your institution or tell them who to reach out to if you'd like your institution to support ResearchEquals.
And if after all this, you need more information, we are here for you. You may also want to check out our newest page on ResearchEquals dedicated to the main points of a supporting membership.
Thanks for reading this far – we appreciate you!