Implicit Development Environments or IDE is a research project that is funded by the Ford Foundation.
Open Digital Infrastructure projects appear to have a specific set of preconditions that sets them apart from projects at the application layer. In our previous work as funders, we found that infrastructure projects are harder to reach, assess and support. These projects often do not fit the traditional impact metrics that are requested for applications and assessed during funding periods – initiating a lack of resources. Since free and open source infrastructure provides the backbone of the internet and most other common information technology systems, this condition can have critical effects on society.
In our research, we will specifically address the different stages in which Open Digital Infrastructure is being shaped and created: From the technical governing bodies of the Internet like IETF or ISOC to the people and projects that implement standards in Open Digital Infrastructure and those who run infrastructure services. We examine the underpinning dynamics and values within the econsystem in order to understand which role guidelines, governance models, ideologies and social practices play in this field. We assess what specific processes and tasks in these communities and institutions need our special attention, involvement and support.
Operationalizing our learnings from the research, our purpose is to formulate recommendations on how funders, public procurement, software managers, researchers and community leaders alike can make sure that critical needs for establishing and maintaining digital infrastructure will be better met in the future.