About the OpenMI Association
The objectives of the Association are to promote the development, use, management and maintenance of the Open Modelling Interface (the OpenMI), a standard for the runtime exchange of data between software components for environmental management.
The Association seeks to achieve this goal by, among other things :
- Promoting information exchange and discussion among like minded organisations and individuals
- Sustaining the maintenance and development of the OpenMI Standard and its supporting software
- Facilitating the advancement of integrated modelling by promoting the use of the OpenMI
These aspirations, which are taken from the Association's Charter, are translated into a vision of the role of modelling within the management of land and water, a mission statement for the Association and a strategy for achieving the mission in the Association's Strategy document (read more)
A simple organisational structure has been put in place, which allows both participation by the entire OpenMI community and fast decision-making by a core group of members.
- Elects the Executive Committee members
- Controls and approves budgets
- Is the ultimate decision making body
- Runs the organisation on behalf of the General Assembly
- Decides on strategic issues and significant changes to the OpenMI (non-backward compatible modifications to the OpenMI Standard and software releases)
- Delegates tasks to working groups (sub-committees)
- Maintains the register of members
- Manages the budgets
- Provides a technical support structure for the OpenMI user community
- Receives user input and feedback for change requests
- Proposes new releases to the Executive Committee
- Makes new releases
- Maintains the website
- Provides and streamlines information from and to the user community
- Promotes communication and discussion about OpenMI on international fora
- Provides publicity materials
More information on the roles and functioning of the different committees can be found in the Charter and Standing Orders.
The current membership of the committees is listed here.
Charter and Standing Orders
The OpenMI Association is an association ("vereniging") established under Dutch Law. It is open to international membership for both organisations and individuals. The full text of the Charter and Standing Orders are available here.
Official (Dutch) text of the Charter
English version of the Charter
Standing orders (English)
IPR, trademark and licenses
The OpenMI Association as a legal body will ensure and safeguard the copyrights and intellectual property rights (IPR) of the OpenMI Standard and any related products created by the OpenMI Association. It has registered the logo and name "OpenMI" as a trademark and has had the domain names (www.openMI.org and www.openMI.com) registered.
The OpenMI Standard is provided under the Lesser General Public Licence (LGPL). Other products of the OpenMI Asociation (e.g. a Software Develop Kit (SDK) and Graphical User Interface (GUI)) are or will be made available under suitable open source licence conditions. OpenMI compliant tools and software developed by third parties remain the property of their respective developers.
The OpenMI association will impose no restrictions on the use of the OpenMI for research or commercial purposes, and will not impose any royalty charges or licence fees.
Vision, Mission and Strategy
Today's world is one where the fair and sustainable allocation of diminishing natural resources between competing demands is increasingly important to avoid conflicts. Making such decisions, however, is far from easy. Although we have considerable knowledge of individual environmental, social and economic processes in the land and water domains, our ability to predict how those processes will interact is limited; hence, it is difficult to foresee the wider implications of natural events and management policies as is required by integrated management.
It is neither feasible nor particularly useful to build a single model of all the processes in a catchment. However, emerging interface defintions, such as the OpenMI, are making it possible to link together new and existing models from different suppliers, based on a variety of modelling concepts and representing different domains. There is already preliminary evidence that this linked or "integrated modelling" approach will offer an effective tool for developing and assessing integrated management options and that it leads to better decisions, i.e. decisions that make the best use of the resources.
The OpenMI Association believes that integrated management in some form or other is the only option for the future management of the world's natural resources. Because of the complexities inherent in integrated management, managers will demand ever more sophisticated decision support systems. These are essentially predictive models. As the need to understand the wider impacts of any decision increases, so the models will have to take account of more and more processes. The OpenMI Association, therefore, foresees a future where the concept of integrated modelling is widely accepted by authorities as leading to better decisions, and where it is the adopted practice in optimising the management of complex systems.
The attainment of the vision will require the combined efforts of developers, modellers and users. Within this context, the role, and hence the mission, that the OpenMI Association has set itself, is to:
- Promote integrated modelling as a means of achieving better management decisions, so that resources are more fully exploited and impacts are better understood;
- Develop and support the OpenMI Standard so that it becomes the first choice for model integration.
The OpenMI Association has defined for itself the following boundaries:
- Technical scope:
- The exchange of data between independent models and modelling components either at run-time or when the models are run sequentially
- Facilitating the embedding of linked models and components in decision support systems (DSSs)
- Application domain: environmental management with the priority on land and water systems.
- Intended user groups of the OpenMI and its applications: model developers, the modelling community and the competent authorities.
- Geographic focus of dissemination activities: although the OpenMI Standard can be applied world-wide, the priority regions for the OpenMI Association in the first years will be Europe and the United States of America.
To achieve its mission, the OpenMI Association will focus on the following key actions:
- Creating a culture that eases the adoption and acceptance of integrated modelling as a concept and the use of the OpenMI as the recognised option for integrated modelling
- Ensuring that the OpenMI remains relevant, easy to use, of high quality and available under acceptable conditions
- Supporting the community of OpenMI users and providing a compliancy service for developers who have adopted the OpenMI Standard in their products
- Disseminating necessary and useful information
- Enabling the user community to influence the development of the OpenMI and its Association
- Being the legal body that holds the ownership of the OpenMI
- Securing the necessary resources to fulfil its mission and implementation strategy
Creating a culture for integrated modelling
Changing attitudes to integrated management and modelling will require the provision of information and the creation of new skills at both high and low levels in user, modelling and developer communities.
The top-down approach will be to ensure that key decision-makers (competent authorities) are aware of the added value of integrated modelling and the role of the OpenMI Standard. Their needs will be identified so that they can be provided with the information that will enable them to make well-informed decisions about the use of integrated modelling and the OpenMI.
In parallel, the OpenMI Association will identify the most widely used model codes and decision support systems and encourage their developers to make them OpenMI compliant (if not yet so).
The bottom-up approach will be to create a new body of scientists, engineers and IT professionals with integrated modelling and OpenMI skills. This will be achieved by liaising with respected higher educational institutions and encouraging the inclusion of material on integrated modelling and the OpenMI in appropriate undergraduate, MSc and PhD courses, workshops and seminars. The Association will co-operate with the educational institutions to create course material. The development of training services by the Association's members will be similarly encouraged.
Supporting the OpenMI user community
Through its Technical Committee, the OpenMI Association will provide and supervise a forum for discussion and questions; this forum is intended primarily for developers. Additionally, the Association will provide and maintain a website and a "wiki" site. The web site will be the entry point for the Association and the OpenMI. It will contain final copies of all key documents, news and announcements and will be designed with end users and those new to the OpenMI in mind. The site will link to the wiki, which will be the home page of the Technical Committee. The wiki will have a more informal style and will provide access to detailed technical information and reports of user experiences with the OpenMI.
The Technical Committee is not resourced to maintain a staffed help desk and cannot guarantee that all questions on the discussion forums will be answered by them. However, the Association will foster the creation of a mutually supportive OpenMI Community in the open source spirit.
The Association will always recommend end users to go first to their software supplier for support. The OpenMI Association will encourage software suppliers to build up OpenMI skills among their support staff, so that they can help their users with OpenMI-related queries. Hence, from an end user's (modeller's) point of view, the preferred channels of communication are the same as those that exist in today's single-domain modelling. All users seeking support will be welcome to explore the information available through the website and the wiki. All users, but particulalrly developers, should feel welcome to report bugs and make proposals for change to the OpenMI.
The OpenMI Association will supervise the co-ordination and organisation of training sessions for model developers to help them make their modelling software OpenMIcompliant. The Association will not provide the training itself but will collaborate with dedicated third-party trainers, who can advertise their services on the Association website. Registration for training sessions will be co-ordinated through the website. Links to published training materials and tutorials will also be provided.
End users will be asked to contact their own software providers for specific OpenMI related training. Generic examples and general information on the functionality and use of the OpenMI User Interface, as offered by the Technical Committee, will be provided by the Technical Committee as soon as resources permit.
Dissemination of information
The main medium for disseminating information will be this website, through which all formal information about the OpenMI Standard and the OpenMI Association will be made available. This website will also provide information on events, training and where to find OpenMI-compliant software.
Members will be allowed to advertise their products and services on the website. More informal information, primarily focused at developers, will be held at the OpenMI Association's wiki, which will be accessible via the website. In addition, the Association will provide a forum on Sourceforge for debate, feedback and the informal exchange of information and experience relating to the OpenMI, model integration and integrated modelling.
The OpenMI Association will convene specific sessions on the OpenMI at conferences. It will also publish papers and articles in the scientific and popular press and maintain a newsletter.
Basic material for creating OpenMI-related presentations will be made available through the website.
Availability of the technology
The Association will impose no restrictions on the use of the OpenMI for research or commercial purposes, and will not impose any royalty charges or licence fees.
The OpenMI Association will maintain, develop and release reference implementations (.Net and Java) of the OpenMI Standard and provide access to it through its website. These implementations will be released under the Lesser General Public Licence (LGPL). The Association will provide all necessary documentation relating to the Standard and its implementations.
In order to maintain the high quality and reliability of the Standard, the OpenMI Association will adopt quality assurance procedures and quality control standards. It will establish a group to monitor the driving forces, user needs and new technologies requiring further development. In this way, the OpenMI Association will seek to ensure the relevance of the OpenMI Standard. New releases will be timed to achieve a balance between the need for stability and the need to move with the times.
The OpenMI Association will ensure that there is always at least one documented Software Development Kit (SDK) and Graphical User Interface (GUI) available under suitable open-source licence conditions. It will also allow and encourage third parties to develop, deliver and maintain other versions of the SDK and GUI, or any other tools that will simplify the migration (making modelling components compliant), linking and running of integrated models.
The OpenMI Association will develop a procedure for establishing that components comply with a particular release, and will allow developers to label such components as "OpenMI version n.m Compliant". The Association will hold a register of OpenMI compliant components. The Association will not make any statement of warranty about OpenMI-compliant components. The Association will work towards establishing an auditing service.
The Association as a legal entity
The Association is an international, non-proprietary and not-for-profit organisation.
New members will always be welcome, particularly those willing and able to contribute actively.
The OpenMI Association, as a legal entity, will ensure and safeguard the copyrights and intellectual property rights (IPR) of the OpenMI Standard and any related products created by the OpenMI Association. (The OpenMI logo and the name "OpenMI" have been registered as a trademark and the domain names www.OpenMI.org and www.OpenMI.com have also been registered.)
The OpenMI Association will seek the resources to support its activities by membership fees, contributions in kind, donations, project funding or any other resource that is approved by the General Assembly.
In order to keep the required resources to a minimum, the OpenMI Association will actively encourage services to be carried out by third parties, thus creating business development opportunities for the OpenMI community.
Download the strategy document here
The OpenMI Association is open to organizations and individuals with an interest in the OpenMI.
The OpenMI Association is run by and for its members.
The benefits of membership are:
- automatic membership of the General Assembly, which has ultimate control over the direction and activities of the Association.
- the right to stand for any elected position, most importantly, the Executive Committee (see the Charter and Standing Orders for details).
- the opportunity to take part in the working groups of the Association, where discussion, research and development of the OpenMI take place.
- facilities for advertising your OpenMI products and services on the OpenMI website.
What does it cost ?
The membership fee is currently 100 € per annum.
How to join ?
New members are welcome at anytime. There are two classes of membership: organisational and individual. The OpenMI Association encourages organisations to join. However, if this is too difficult, individuals are very welcome. The steps are:
- Download an application form
- Complete and sign the form
- Mail the completed and signed form to the OpenMI Secretariat
- Please do NOT include money at this stage. Upon receipt of the signed application form you will be sent an invoice.
Current committee members
The Association's annual reports can be downloaded here.
- Annual Report 2007
- Annual Report 2008
- Annual Report 2009
- Annual Report 2010
For all general questions and feedback, please contact the Dissemination Committee
For questions regarding Association membership or meetings, please contact the Secretariat
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