[Bioperl-l] The open bioinformatics foundation.

Chris Dagdigian cdagdigian@genetics.com
Mon, 28 Aug 2000 11:50:29 -0400

I like the idea of an umbrella "foundation" for the bio*.org projects for one simple reason:

The bio*.org projects are now more important than any one person or developer. This became
true as soon as labs and groups started using our code for real work. The foundation would
provide the continuity that we need as well as handling the misc. administrative tasks like
organizing events and handling money, donations and legal stuff.

I could go either way as to how we actually do this. The ISCB approach has its merits: an
existing tax-exempt non-profit with actual administrative support staff and the ability to process
credit card transactions which we sorely need. If we could set up within the ISCB and share
their admin costs while maintaining a seperate bank account for our work/events it would be pretty nice.

You can tell that I am fixated on the bank account and money thing :) This is because our
current business bank account is under the name of "Chris Dagdigian D/B/A The BioPerl Project" and
the tax-ID associated with the bank account is my own. For both legal and tax purposes I would welcome
the chance to change this and also change the official name of our project to something more inclusive
than The BioPerl project. 

Believe it or not we have assets other than server hardware and a bank account. For instance I am
the one who technically "owns" the domains bioperl.org, biojava.org and open-bio.org. I could cause
significant problems were I to suddenly decide to take my domains back and sell them or use them for
another project. Having a real organization in place would allow me to formally transfer 'ownership' of
the domains to the foundation instead of an individual which is a *good* thing.

I propose that Ewan takes the lead in investigating aligning with the ISCB. If anything becomes difficult
or questionable I would propose that our backup approach should be to just hire a lawyer and incorporate
ourselves as a standalone non-profit entity. We already have lots of leads on legal folks who can help us get
this done.

Also for those of you who are interested, here is the financial summary from the BOSC'2000 conference:

Sponsor Donations: $2,200.00
Registration fees collected: $10,397.50
Total: About $12,000 US dollars

We estimate that expenses for BOSC are going to be about $8,000 so that
leaves us a probable profit of about $4,000 US dollars. UCSD has not billed
us yet so we do not have the final cost available.