What User Groups could do to strengthen VIVO users engagement

Jun 07, 2021VIVO 2021 Conference SubmissionReaders: Everyone
  • Keywords: user groups, engagement, global outreach
  • TL;DR: As an open source community-led global program VIVO can be considered a community of communities
  • Abstract: Global open source community-led programs often struggle with communication and community engagement. It is very hard to know precisely who’s downloading and using the software and it’s even more difficult to be able to communicate in different languages at different time zones, especially based on the limited resources and staff that those programs can rely on. VIVO is no exception. The Governance of VIVO, as many other open source programs around the world, has no way to track downloads of the software and, in order to know who’s interested and/or using it, needs to rely on voluntary disclosure of such information. Also, In addition to that, governance meetings, documentation, minutes, and communications are all in English. Working on community engagement means to identify the right tools that will allow all members to feel confident in participating, sharing thoughts, ideas and expertise. We believe that people tend to be more active when they are among their peers and they can speak their own language. Such a belief is based on three concrete experiences that currently exist in the VIVO community: the German User Group (the oldest national UG in the VIVO community), the North American UG and the Spanish Speaking UG, both of them just met in 2021 for the first time. Those are very different UGs in terms of nature (one in country based, one Region based, one language based) and in the kind of activities they might want to focus on. As an open source community-led global program VIVO can be considered a community of communities. It is highly important for the program to be able to interact with all its different communities and for them to feel part of a global network and to be heard. The goal of the presentation is to share the experience of the three User Groups with the rest of the community, reflect on what works and what doesn’t work in establishing and coordinating those, and on what the most interesting results are in terms of engagement and the impact on technical and financial contributions. Members of the three different User Group will be sharing lessons learned and expectations, as well as answering questions from the audience.
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