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Data institutions: reducing costs and improving sustainability

Wed Sep 30, 2020
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Find out about the revenue models used by data institutions, and read our recommendations around sustainability and cost reduction

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This report is the result of our continued research into the business models of data institutions and the surrounding funding landscape.

The report explores the revenue models used by data institutions by looking at a broader set of data institutions through our desk research.

We examine the cost structures of a small number of data institutions and the approaches they have taken to lower costs so that they do not have to generate as much revenue. We look at data institutions that are relatively young as well as others that have been operational for a long time. Finally, we explore what drives public and philanthropic funders’ decisions to fund data institutions.

Our recommendations to those running data institutions include: ensuring transparency around costs; communicating clearly about the value offered to key stakeholders; and demonstrating impact through evaluations.

For those funding or supporting data institutions, we recommend that they: identify opportunities to align with other funders; support data institutions to grow beyond their core activities; and clearly articulate their approach to funding data institutions.

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