The fate of any good technology idea disconnected from a business/revenue model is not promisory. This is true for commercial and academic projects or for any project for that matter. Soon or later, even grant-funded projects will have their reality-check-day. Consider the case of Intute, which will be closing by July 2011; i.e., in about a month.
According to their FAQs page at http://www.intute.ac.uk/faq.html,
Why have JISC made this decision?
As stated in the JISC statement about the Intute review, when services “reach the end of their existing funding cycle it is always intended, wherever possible, that they move from being fully funded to being part-funded or fully sustained by other sources”. Unfortunately in the current economic climate no realistic alternative funding model for Intute as it currently stands has been identified.
However, we are working to ensure that the legacy of Intute lives on, and we are working with other organisations in the sector to find a new home for Intute content.
Why can’t Intute continue without JISC funding?
Over the last three years, we have investigated alternative funding models for Intute, including alternative grant funding, subscription and advertising/sponsorship, and we have spoken to librarians, academics and students to find out what they think. Unfortunately, we have been unable to find a model that will sustain Intute in its current form into the future.
Can you open up Intute for community updating and contributions? This model may be a better fit now with the rise of social /community web 2.0 ways of working.
We have looked at the possibility of facilitating a community generated resource catalogue, and investigated exporting all of our resources to Delicious. However, in December 2010 reports circulated that Yahoo will be shutting down Delicious. With Intute funding ending in July 2011, the uncertainty surrounding Delicious means that further investigations are unlikely.
Is there any way to save Intute? What about an internet fundraising drive or trying to raise funds from institutions, foundations or advertising?
In principle – maybe, but in practice we have investigated alternative funding models for Intute, including alternative grant funding, subscription and advertising/sponsorship, and we have been unable to find a model that will sustain Intute in its current form into the future. Intute as it stands costs over 1 million a year to run excluding the contributions associated with housing staff at our different partner institutions.
Intute was created by a consortium of seven universities, working together with a whole host of partners.
The Intute consortium was:
- University of Birmingham
- University of Bristol
- Heriot-Watt University
- The University of Manchester
- Manchester Metropolitan University
- University of Nottingham
- University of Oxford
Amazing that with so much human resources talent their fate is as described above.