Is the Zotero grant available?

I am interested in seeing the grant proposal(s) for which Zotero was funded, or at least the sections of the proposal that describe the goal or functions of the project that guide the decision-making process for zotero's design and development.

I can't find this on the site. Is it currently available here or elsewhere?

  • At the present time Zotero is fully funded via the sale of storage and services; therefore, no grant proposals currently guide the decision-making process for Zotero's design and development.

    The various grant proposals that initially funded Zotero are not available on this site, and we have no plans to post them here.
  • I am confused about the nature of the organization responsible for Zotero. The "about" page says:

    "Zotero is a production of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. It is generously funded by the United States Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation."

    So Zotero is no longer funded by the latter three foundations? Should this statement be altered to read "was previously generously funded"?

    Also, what does it mean to say that Zotero is a "production" of the Center for History and New Media at GMU? Is it a project fully under the purview of GMU, like an academic department or a university museum? Are its employees GMU employees?

    Or, is Zotero a non-profit organization or a for-profit organization independent from GMU? Is it incorporated with the state or federal government in some way? Is it a hybrid entity?

    Thanks for the information!
  • since answering takes time, could you maybe specify the nature of your interest in this? Partly so that our answers are useful, but also so we're not wasting our time?
  • I actually started this comment with a long description of the non-malicious thought process that led me to my initial question, and then I realized that there's no reason I should be asked to justify asking a basic question about Zotero. Encouraging reasonable questions is an essential part of academic research.

    I asked whether the grant was available. The response stated that the foundations currently listed as generously funding Zotero are no longer involved in the project in any way. That totally surprised me, so I asked for a clarification of what Zotero's structure actually is. I'm surprised that the responses didn't include, "whoops--we should change that 'about' page."

    Is it a big deal to say whether Zotero is is non-profit or for-profit, and whether it is wholly part of GMU or not? I assume that several people at Zotero know the answer off the top of their head. It couldn't take more than 5 minutes to type a response.

    I don't see why my motives are relevant, or why I need to prove to you that I have a good reason to ask the question so you don't "waste your time."

    It is sort of creepy that asking a basic question about (I assume) public information (whether Zotero is wholly part of GMU and how Zotero is organized) garners the response, "why do you want to know?"
  • edited August 21, 2013
    as I said, a) time isn't free b) the type of answer depends on the nature of the interest.

    I do a lot of interviews for my academic work, I always explain to the people I interview what my general interest is - both because I owe it to them, since they provide me with their time for free and because it helps them to give me better answers.

    I also don't work for Zotero (except as an occasional contractor), though I think I know the answers to most of your questions, I don't see why I should invest time answering them unless I have an idea of why you want to know.

    (edit: FWIW, I ask the "why?" question for a lot of technical inquiries whose purpose is non-obvious for the same reason - it helps me to give better answers. There's really no reason to be so indignant about this.)

    (edit2: if this is indeed part of "academic inquiry," I'd of course be very happy to answer questions, as I'm sure would other Zotero folks, in that case it'd be great to know the name of you as well as the PI (if it's not you) as well as the institution the work is being done at.)
  • Perhaps it has recently been updated, but the bottom of this very page says:
    Zotero is a project of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, and was initially funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
    I'm also not clear on the actual details, and there is little reason to expect them to be fully outlined on, but an entity called the Corporation for Digital Scholarship ( is involved in making the hybrid paid services + academic host institution model work for both Zotero and Omeka, another CHNM project.

    The fact that Zotero is self-sustaining is a superb fact, and it bodes very well for open systems in research, particularly as all other research management systems of its generation were eventually swallowed up by publishing conglomerates.

    I also hope that the strength of the Zotero community and its proven financials will make it easier for the team to attract more grants for transformative improvements going forward. That said, my hunch is that a major limitation at that point would become personnel-- it is hard to bring on new developers in the medium term, as the onboarding process could be quite daunting.

    [I have worked with Zotero and CHNM on training sessions, and developed the third-party Android app for Zotero, but have no non-public information about Zotero and play no role in the organization.]
  • On a final note, you could probably file a request with the granting agencies and/or CHNM or the university itself via more traditional channels (emails, letters, even public records requests) to ask for more information on the grants involved in the original creation of Zotero. Technical support and troubleshooting forums are just not the best venue for that sort of thing.
  • (the footer was changed very recently, maybe even today)
Sign In or Register to comment.