Independent fundraising for specific features

Are there Zotero users and developers that would be interested in participating in a fundraising campaign to improve / fast track certain features?

My thoughts:
- this is not for feature creep, but for things that are in the roadmap, but perhaps with low priority
- this is therefore for features that are reasonable / incremental improvements, rather than core changes
- according to previous discussions, the core team doesn’t have capacity to take on grant funded work, so the work would be done via community developers and PRs.
- the changes would need to be acceptable to the zotero core team, and ideally discussed with the zotero core team prior to grant submission, with a clear rationale why the development work is undertaken in this way.

I’ve got significant experience in fund raising within academic and technology, and would be happy to lead such a bid. However, it needs community support as well as coordination with the core team to be successful.

Any thoughts?
  • edited August 16, 2018

    I just recently offered to make a donation in support of a feature request here:
    That feature has been requested for about 10 years now, with no progress, and the main thing standing in the way seems to be that it is difficult to fully implement especially across multiple citation styles.

    So if this approach would be helpful, that would be great. There are a number of similar discussions that begin around 2009 and have not been addressed yet. I'm not sure exactly how they would be prioritized — that is, would all fund-raising be lumped together, or would we be able to donate for specific features? I like the idea, assuming the practicalities can be worked out.

    At the same time, I think it's important that this doesn't become something that derails or takes over the project by money. That wasn't my intention at all, nor does it seem to be yours. This is why, as you say, it's important to have the core team on board. It's just to help move things along for desired features. I get the impression that innovation and new core features have stalled to some degree in the past 10 years after the initial development. There are reasons (e.g., stability) that this makes sense, but there are also some features that weren't implemented in the first place that are desperately desired by users but keep being set aside until years later.
  • edited August 17, 2018
    Thanks for comments. I was thinking that those interested in this would jointly (together with core developers) prioritise and decide. Rather than asking for donations, my intention was to approach funders interested in finding open source software. But if people want to donate/bounty that could also be possible.

    Edit: the process could also involve some formal human/user-centred design, where developments are based on user testing, personals, etc.
  • This thread is also interesting regarding user input / user-centred design
  • A couple of years ago when I was thing of features to be added to Zotero I, too, considered a bounty system to support their implementation. I soon realized that any new features that are included in the program code would need to be updated each time major changes to the base Zotero program was changed. The bounty-supported change wouldn't be a one-time expense.

    I don't mean to dismiss @bjohas 's ideas for improvement [ideas that I like] but I have been in the situation where I've had to reject outside support for a one-time enhancement to my own project because it would have complicated the implementation of future improvements to other things.
  • But can't (good) features be added into the main program and carried forward to new versions?

    I didn't interpret this as asking for unofficial patches.
  • I think DWL-SDCA's point is the same as the one I tried to make in the other thread.

    There's a cost to supporting code beyond the effort to just get it into the codebase in the first place.
  • I see a funding effort to support a "planned feature acceleration", rather than generating scope creep. I'd propose to only implement features that are in line with the current road map, and can be maintained by the developers.

    So it's definitely not about implementation of random features. Hope that makes senses.
  • @bjohas -- do you have examples of features you're thinking about?
    My impression would be that a lot of the features that people would be willing to invest time&money in have significant design/UX components, which make them tricky for PRs.

    To give you a sense of where Zotero core devs think outside help would be particularly useful, you can look at the Help Welcome tag on the repo:"Help+Welcome" (obviously non-exhaustive)
  • @adamsmith, i can think of three areas:

    1. Features, see here There's some overlap with the help wanted items, and I'd be quite happy to try to fundraise for the help wanted items.

    2. In addition to features, documentation could be improved (including documentation on more specialist items such as the translation server), and I think that would likely be "help welcome" too?

    3. Finally, outside current zotero core team, I would also like to support an Android version e.g. for our research collaborations with African partners.

    Of course different funders have different interests, so the three areas above might not all be suitable for all funders.
  • Thanks.
    Yeah, a lot of the features in 1) seem very doable via PR. From my grant-writing experience, they'd seem difficult to fundraise for, but you know more about that than I do. I'd also guess that you could actually do a fair number of them on a moderate (say 15k) grant.

    2. is obviously great. I wonder if that one couldn't even be done without grant funding just by mobilizing/organizing people with relevant skills.

    3. doesn't require the core team at all. The risk there is the track record of existing apps that have become unmaintained/deprecated, so if you look at that, it'd be important to consider sustainability. I'd also hold off and look how good the new Zotero mobile site is going to be. You might decide that it's sufficiently functional for mobile use to make a dedicated app unnecessary or at least less of a priority.
  • Thanks for comments, and very good point about the new mobile site. Any idea when that is expected?

    I'll do a follow up paint on improving documentation, Cross-Posting to dev list as well.
  • No idea on the mobile site eta, but looking at github, I'm guessing it's not that far off.
  • Regarding 2, the documentation wiki was just majorly updated for Zotero 5. If there are places where things aren’t clear, it’s probably easiest to just point those out.
  • Hey guys, the platform for bounty hunting is:

    as one can see, zotero already got some attention there :)

    Maybe the website can get some attention in the zotero community.
    I would be in for some good quote management features,
    which brings zotero closer to e.g. citavi in that point :)


  • edited April 14, 2019
    Hello all,

    I'd like to chat about this again - what about setting up a hangout and talk some of the ideas through?


    PS. I might have some funding available or at least have some developer time available. However, I want to make sure that the work is integrated with the overall Zotero trajectory. I feel I know relatively little e.g. about the new web interface or features that may be added to the client. So independent development work could be risky (i.e. in terms of features not making it into Zotero). As long as we can find a way of mitigating that risk, there may be possibilities to develop features.
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