The Open Modeling Foundation (OMF) initiative is an AIMES Working Group to establish an international consortium of organizations representing modeling scientists that can develop and administer standards to support open, reproducible, interoperable models. Over the past two years, the OMF initiative has held a series of strategic planning workshops to inform modeling organizations about the initiative and compile input and suggestions. These meetings have been coordinated by AIMES, the Network for Computational Modeling in Social and Ecological Sciences (CoMSES.Net), the Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System (csdms.colorado.edu), and the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (dssat.net), and supported by the Alfred P Sloan Foundation. With support from Sloan, these groups are also developing pilot proof-of-concept software to demonstrate the potential of standards-based integrative modeling.
The last of the planning workshops was held at the beginning of June, 2021. Due to the global pandemic, all 2020 and 2021 meetings have been virtual. Nevertheless, a total of 67 modeling organizations, represented by 96 individual attendees have participated. While complicating holding a meaningful workshop, doing these online has opened up the meetings to a broader audience and inspired those of us coordinating the workshops to test online platforms that could be used to support the kind of internationally distributed organization envisioned for the OMF.
The most important of these platforms is an open science gateway, based on GitHub. Here we have posted draft governance documents and documents outlining potential standards as a way to encourage discussion and input from the community. The workshop participants have used this collaboration platform for discussions, ideas, and suggestions. In that way, the OMF is already making the development of community standards an open, transparent process. Anyone can visit this gateway to follow–and contribute to–the community discussions, suggestions in the issue tracker, and edits made to the posted documents in response to stakeholder input. There is a simple web front end to this gateway at https://
In the most recent workshop, we also piloted an OMF Discord server (discord.com) to serve as an easy, informal communications platform for anyone interested in participating in the OMF initiative. Individuals who would like to join conversations on Discord can email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive an invitation link.
We hope to convene and organizational meeting before the end of the year where member organizations could adopt a governance charter and formally establish the OMF. We will continue to update the AIMES community about this important initiative for the future of transdisciplinary modeling science. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact email@example.com.