BioPAX Governance

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[Text moved here from Tasks and Decisions. This is work in progress - wait until 9/25 before criticizing it too much please. -Jonathan]

The BioPAX working group is not incorporated and has no by-laws.

Membership

Membership in the BioPAX working group is open to all. We will change this policy if it leads to problems.

How decisions are made

Decisions are made by consensus at telephone conferences and face-to-face meetings. Decisions are made by those attending, with proxies allowed. (We'll change this policy if it leads to problems.) There are no votes.

Consensus is essentially unanimity but implies a commitment on everyone's part to respond to issues and iterate until agreement is reached.

For reasons of efficiency, the group may give limited decision-making ability to committees and individuals (see Committees and Delegation).

N.b. as a matter of courtesy, any important issues must be listed on a meeting's agenda ahead of time so that members have an opportunity to participate in decisions around that issue. For example, someone might decide to attend a meeting they otherwise would have skipped, or to designate a proxy.

(Gary says that technical decisions are sometimes made by email using a wait-until-discussion-has-ended rule.)

Q: Do some members have more importance or status than others?

A: No. We will endeavor to balance the needs of various constituencies guided by the goal of advancing biology. (We'll change this policy if it leads to problems.)

Q: Are members with leisure and/or salary to work on BioPAX more important than others?

A: No (although inevitably it's easier to influence others when you have the time to do research and lobbying in support of your own opinions and goals). Chris Sander disagrees, and says that those who have the luxury to be helpful 'should' have more influence, and describes BioPAX as a "do-ocracy".

Q: How can we find out, at any given time, who has responsibility to do what (either as a committee or as an individual)?

A: If a designation of this kind is made at a meeting, then this should be recorded on the wiki or web site, e.g. "Advisory committee: Alice, Bob, and Carol." This will serve to shame people into doing work, and reward them in a small way for what they do.

Discussion of BioPAX Governance

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