Tool Developers' Collaborative

Tool developers from non-profit, for-profit, government, and academic institutions share the same challenges for building, maintaining, and supporting software for the EBM sector.  With a currently small market with low resources, it is not feasible to cover software costs through license and support fees, yet EBM practitioners request and need a broad set of fully supported and interoperating tools.  Limited tool funding sources have been diminishing with the global economic downturn, and changing initiatives of funders aggrevate these challenges and lead to unproductive competition.  The Tool Developers' Collaborative is committed to working together to address these shared challenges and offer a unified group of collaborators for future tool development and interoperability.

The goal of the Collaborative is to promote increased quality and sustainability of EBM tools to ensure robust tools and tool support are available to EBM practitioners.  This addresses the stated mission of the EBM Tools program to promote the availability of EBM tools.

The objectives of the Collaborative are to:

  • Provide a forum for tool developers to identify challenges to tool sustainability and possible solutions.
  • Provide an opportunity to share skills, capacity, and infrastructure in tool research and development, deployment, and support among members to increase the quality of all tools and give stability to retain skilled tool development staff and infrastructure.
  • Develop, maintain, implement, and disseminate core guidelines or standards for tool development and deployment that contribute to quality and interoperability.
  • Increase funder interest and confidence in EBM tool development and support by presenting a united approach and venue for tool development rather than a competitive and confusing array of individual institutions.
  •  Provide a forum for identifying and prioritizing tool function gaps and other needed improvements to guide member research and development and priorities of funders.
  • Provide a forum for prioritizing and sharing tool funding (from various sources including license and support fees, grants, endowments, etc.) among collaborative members.
  • Focus members on their key strengths (e.g., research and development in particular sectors, spatial/analytical function engineering, interface engineering, QA/QC and productization, deployment and technical support, training, etc.) to increase collaborative and interoperating tool development and reduce inefficient competition while maximizing innovation.

The Tool Developers' Collaborative welcomes new members at any time that are committed to the principles of the group and willing and able to commit time toward achievement of its objectives.  To find out more please contact Patrick Crist at patrick_crist (at) natureserve (dot) org.