Data Curation Network – Sustainability Consulting Services

Request for Proposal (informal)

The University of Minnesota Libraries invites proposals to provide sustainability consultant services to the Data Curation Network project ( Electronic proposals may be delivered to the email of Lisa Johnston, Principal Investigator of the Data Curation Network, University of Minnesota (

RFP Issue Date: October 29, 2018

Proposals Due: December 15, 2018, 11:59pm CST

Scope of Work

Sustainability Consulting—The Data Curation Network (DCN) seeks a sustainability consultant for short-term contracted work. The consultant will work closely with the co-principal investigators to deliver an actionable sustainability plan for the DCN.

The DCN is currently in Year 1 of a 3 year implementation grant, supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and led by the University of Minnesota Libraries with Cornell University, Dryad Digital Repository, Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, Penn State University, University of Illinois, and the University of Michigan as partners. The DCN must transition to a self-sustaining organization immediately following the grant funded period, or June 2021. The principal investigators of the DCN will work with the consultant to craft a work plan to conduct an investigation that will inform key decisions about this transition. The consultant’s work plan may include:

  1. Market analysis: Conducting research to better understand the potential demand for Data Curation Network services and programs. Research could involve literature and other information review, interviews, surveys, focus groups, or other activities.
  2. Administrative Structure: Research and compare various options for situating the DCN within an organizational home, including possible third-party fiscal agents. Explore opportunities for DCN partnership to identify the most efficient solution to managing membership and/or service fees, providing legal support, and maintaining a not-for-profit status.
  3. Financial Model Recommendation: Investigate and recommend a financial model for the DCN for the next 5 years. Potential membership models include: in-kind (all effort contributed by partners), membership, fee-for-service, or a hybrid of these.
  4. Community engagement case studies: Provide example case studies of successful community-owned infrastructure or projects in the library and archives sector and make recommendations so that the DCN can establish and maintain a successful “for the community” brand.

There are no requirements that the consultant work on site. Work may be performed from any location. In-person meetings, if required, will be funded by the DCN project. The consultant’s work will begin by June 2019, and the final deliverable, a report with recommendations, is due by December 2019.

Consultants are requested to submit a brief proposal to by December 15, 2018 outlining proposed work plan, with time and cost estimates. The DCN will evaluate brief proposals and conduct follow-up conversations with potential consultants, and will request expanded proposals based on these conversations.

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