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Wrapping up 2020

This year we have continued operation of Engineering Archive, our primarily organizational project. The archive has continued to see growth in usage across all metric in 2020 as compared with previous years. The rate of adoption of preprinting in engineering only seems to continue growing over time! In addition, we have started to build a listing of open-source engineering software as a means of shedding light on these projects and helping the community to better understand the available resources. Alongside that effort, we were able to help the authors of CADjs open-source and archive their source code. CADjs (source archived here) is a Javascript-based CAD programming environment, inspired by OpenSCAD, which was originally developed Dr. Krishnan Suresh’s Engineering Representations and Simulation Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

A look at 2020’s finances

This year has been difficult for many and the same is true for non-profits where funding has become more difficult to find. At Open Engineering, our primary source of income is the Engineering Archive Membership Circle which directly supports the operation of the preprint server itself. We’ve heard from some institutions that this year has caused their budgets to get tighter, particularly in the libraries, as universities face shrinking enrollments and the challenges of a global pandemic. This is why we are more grateful than ever for our supporters as discussed over on the Engineering Archive blog.

With that said, Open Engineering is currently in a stable position to start the new year. We have raised approximately 65% of our expected expenses for 2021 and we hope that over the next couple of months we will get close meeting our financial commitments for the year.

In 2020, Open Engineering had income of $2542.82, the majority coming from membership fees and a small portion from individual donations and interest credits. We had expenses of $4069.47, which includes service fees paid to the Center for Open Science, credit card processing fees, domain registration fees, and paperwork filing fees. The difference being funded by balances carried over from 2019.

Looking ahead

Our fee paid to COS will remain $3999 for 2021 based on our submission numbers which remained, just barely, under 500 for the June to July time-frame that they track. We expect that despite the difficulties in raising funds, we will be stable through 2021. Unfortunately, based on our growth, we expect our fee to be increased to $6999 for 2022 based on the COS fee schedule. With current levels of support through the membership circle, we will be unable to raise sufficient funds to cover this increased fee. This situation will require careful monitoring and consideration, to see if the community can continue to support a preprint server in engineering. Other alternatives include possibly moving to a self-hosted option, but this also would require community support as well as a dedicated partner to provide technical expertise. Ultimately, we are reliant on our institutional and community supporters to sustain our operations, and we need the community’s support now more than ever before! We would love to have your feedback and ideas in the comments.

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