Minutes:2016 Oct ConfCall


Venue: To be held by conference call on Oct 4, 2016, 12.30pm EDT (16:30 UTC, 17:30 BST, 18:30 CEST, 9.30am PDT) 
Dial-in Information: +1-857-216-2939 PIN: 62534 http://www.uberconference.com/hlapp

  1. Old business
  2. New business
    1. Term expirations and Elections for the Board (electronic ballot)
      • Heather Wiencko, running for election to the Board.
      • Hilmar Lapp, President of the Board. Running for re-election.
      • Peter Cock, Secretary. Running for re-election to the Board and as Treasurer.
      • Chris Fields, Board member at-large. Running for re-election to the Board and as Secretary.
      • Nomi Harris, Board member at-large. Running for re-election.
    2. Proposed changes to the OBF Bylaws: Part 1 and Part 2
    3. Options for and hurdles to generating revenue from selling swag (OBF project-branded merchandise)


Etherpad for notes: https://etherpad.wikimedia.org/p/OBF-BoD-Meeting-Oct2016


  • Directors: Hilmar Lapp, Peter Cock, Karen Cranston, Chris Fields, Nomi Harris
  • Guests: Robert Gilmore, Heather Wiencko, Spencer Bliven, Michael Crusoe

Meeting started at 16:34 UTC.

Old business

  • 2015 BoD meeting minutes approved unanimously
  • 2013 Financial Report amendment https://github.com/OBF/obf-docs/pull/33 (originaly approved at 2014 board meeting) to include keynote speaker payment from BOSC escrow, and fixing a $500 error in the ISCB erscow spreadsheet. Approved unanimously, PR merged.
  • 2014 Financial Report. Overdue as no serving Treasurer and evolving understanding of how things would work under the SPI umbrella. We now recognise we do need a dedicated treasurer. The drastic drop in the BOSC escrow of circa $7500 is offset by BOSC sponsorship allocated to the SPI account. Approved unanimously.

New business

1. Elections, with electronic ballots prepared by Hilmar.

Heather Wiencko: (Member at large) Met many of the OBF community via BOSC, having served on the BOSC 2016 organizing committee. Has moved more into open source software as her career has evolved, and welcomes the role of the OBF in encouraging openess in bioinformatics and wishes to help with this. Interested in increasing the visiblity of the OBF (unclear other than backing BOSC). Would like to encourage more membership and activity outside of BOSC.

Peter Cock: (Treasurer) Long-time biopython developer, previous OBF secretary. (Didn’t say, but member of the BOSC organising commitee and co-chair for BOSC 2014 and 2015).

Chris Fields: (Secretary) Long-time BioPerl developer, and thus OBF.

Nomi Harris: (Continuing as Member at Large) Long career in Bioinformatics, and involved in the founding of BOSC in 2000 and has served on the committee since – lately as chair or co-chair. Represents BOSC at the OBF board, and is interested in expanding the OBF recognition & community.

Hilmar Lapp: (President) Long-term BioPerl developer & OBF board member, running for a third term with one goal being to enable someone else to take over as president. Most proud of formally launching the OBF Travel Fellowship to improve diversity at relevant events, and would like to expand this with more sponsorship. Has also spent more time than expected keeping OBF infrastructure alive, and would like to reduce this footprint further building on work in the last year.

Votes cast electronically by the current board using Helios Voting https://vote.heliosvoting.org/helios/elections/e1ff4788-89b4-11e6-a3d4-5ed03a4b23b0/view all posted accepted with no votes against (unanimous bar abstains).

Results (For/Against/Abstain):

  • Heather Wiencko, Director at-large? 5/0/0
  • Hilmar Lapp, President? 5/0/0
  • Peter Cock, Treasurer? 4/0/1
  • Nomi Harris, Director At-Large? 5/0/0
  • Christopher Fields, Secretary? 4/0/1

2. Proposed changes to the OBF Bylaws:

  • Part 1 – removing the parliamentatian, altering the treasurer to take on SPI liason role, removing the nominating committee, process for future reviews of the bylaws etc: https://github.com/OBF/obf-docs/pull/28
    • Also moves SPI liason role to the treasurer (providing a second opinion of SPI decisions)
  • Part 2 – extending the terms for board members to 3 years: https://github.com/OBF/obf-docs/pull/29

Approved unamiously by the newly enlarged board.

3. Options for and hurdles to generating revenue from selling swag (OBF project-branded merchandise). Raised by BioJava, with Spencer Bliven on the call representing the project. BioJava sees this largely as an outreach opportunity (T-shirts), but because there is money involved there are potential conflicts of interest. Most BioJava developers contribute as part of their day jobs, and are cautious about handling any revenue personally – collection via the OBF would be open and above board. Possible uses would be to pay for a free T-shirt to the logo designer, but does not seem necessary to track a BioJava earmark which would greatly complicate our accounting.

More generally, does the OBF need to look into Trademarks for project names and logos? Note this is separate from the copyright (e.g. unclear copyright of a project logo should not prevent a Trademark application). Dave Clements might know from logo work on Galaxy and GMOD. In USA law at least, copyright is automatic (no registration), but you have to register a Trademark. Would allow us to protect usage of the brand. Minimal costs circa $350 for five years according to Spencer. Hilmar recommends open licensing of the logo (like the source code), but with brand protected by a TradeMark (with precedents including WikiMedia, Apache, Mozilla).

Other business

  • Question from Michael Crusoe via UberConf chat: Re: accounting & non-profits: perhaps OBF could join forces with the NPOacct project?https://sfconservancy.org/npoacct/
  • Accounting methods for managing several projects under one organizational umbrella
  • Question from Michael Crusoe about getting support for covering prior GSoC expenses (~$500)? Hilmar explains we have not earmarked the GSoC income to the OBF to any specific usage, but a general request would be considered – and might an OBF Travel Fellowship apply?
  • Suggestion from Spencer to actively invite OBF member project developers to join the public OBF board calls (and join the OBF if not already members).

Adjourned at 17:48 UTC

TODO (after meeting)

  • Can we charge the Amazon hosting to an SPI credit card in future? (Peter to ask)
  • How can we collect money from BioJava T-shirts? Direct to SPI or via Treasurer? (Peter to ask)
  • Spencer to look into Trademarks (ideally not just in USA but also in Europe).
  • Add Heather to board mailing list.
  • Prepare minutes (Peter, with Chris as new secretary)
  • Summarise as blog post (Chris)