Review of resourcing and organisational sustainability model

Date

2024

Client

Crossref

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This study investigates Crossref’s financial sustainability, focusing on revenue models and cost drivers

Review of resourcing and organisational sustainability model

Crossref is a not-for-profit membership organisation that exists to make scholarly communications better.
Research Consulting was tasked with reviewing Crossref’s resourcing and sustainability, focusing on its revenue, costs, and charging model. By utilising desk research, workshops, and interviews with Crossref’s directors, we developed a not-for-profit business model canvas and conducted a SWOT analysis to understand Crossref’s current state. The SWOT analysis revealed Crossref’s strong financial foundation and clear mission. However, it also highlighted the need for evolution due to changing membership composition, technological advancements, and external environmental shifts.

Two models were used to explore Crossref’s organisational journey: path dependence theory and the Community Participation Model. These were used to further explore where Crossref is currently and its future direction of travel. Directors were presented with a number of drivers for change in Crossref’s charging model and asked to rate the importance and impact of these. The outcomes of this process indicate that the primary reasons to change Crossref’s charging model are to:

  1. Make fees simpler and more transparent.
  2. Address inequities for existing members.
  3. Rebalance revenue across different services.
  4. Incentivise best practice in metadata creation and management.

Our work identified the key drivers for revising Crossref’s charging model and set out a roadmap for evaluating and implementing revisions to Crossref’s fee structure over the coming years. Crossref directors obtained buy-in from their Board and Membership & Fees Committee who are in 2024-25 taking forward five of the 11 projects we identified, with the remainder following in subsequent years.

The Research Consulting team were very committed to helping the Crossref leadership team distil our goals and needs (regarding sustainability and fee remodelling) into a much more manageable set of projects that we could all agree on. As a result, we are moving forward with a clear program with the buy-in of our Board and the revival of our Membership & Fees Committee to recreate fees that are fit for our future. They ‘get’ our position in the wider context of the open scholarly infrastructure landscape; we’ll definitely revert to Research Consulting when it’s time for more refinement and modelling. Thanks again!Crossref