I’ve had a few questions about the REFEDS Consultation process so thought it would be useful to explain a little for those that are new or indeed for those who have been around so long you can’t remember why we do things!  If you would like to know more about the processes for REFEDS – please see our Participant’s Agreement.

Current Consultations

REFEDS currently has three consultations open.  Comments are welcomed from any individual or group:

The Process

Consultations typically come via two routes:
  1. As an output of a REFEDS Working Group: https://wiki.refeds.org/display/GROUPS.
  2. As a request from an external body that would like REFEDS to host material.
When something is put out for consultation, the content is not endorsed by REFEDS – it is the work of the group that put it together. Anything can be proposed for a REFEDS consultation and the only time we would step in and refuse would be if we considered the material offensive in some way or if it was clearly outside the remit of REFEDS.  Luckily, the collegiate nature of REFEDS makes this very unlikely to happen.
The working group decides when the work it is ready for consultation.  The point of the consultation is to get as much feedback as possible, to find potential issues and to give all REFEDS participants a chance to participate and have a say (particularly where they might not have had time to participate in a working group).
It is perfectly OK to disagree with material proposed – this is precisely why we open up for as many comments as possible.  We need our work to be legitimately usable for the communities we support.  It is equally OK to strongly agree with or endorse a consultation – just add a note to this effect to the wiki page!

Closing a Consultation

When a consultation period ends, the working group or proposing organisation is asked to address and resolve all comments – the resolutions are tracked on the wiki for the consultation.  One of these actions typically takes place next:
1.  The group resolves all comments to its satisfaction and passes the material to the REFEDS SC for approval.
2.  There are outstanding contentious issues, a second consultation is launched.
3.  There is too much disagreement, the work is put aside.
Outputs only become an official REFEDS endorsed outcome when a consultation period has completed to the satisfaction of the Steering Committee, that they are happy all comments and issues are correctly resolved and they are happy with have general consensus.  A vote is then held within the SC to endorse the output.

REFEDS Endorsed Outputs

All material that has been through a REFEDS Consultation is hosted on the REFEDS website.  The REFEDS wiki holds supporting or explanatory material not included in the consultation, work in progress and other administrative outputs.  We maintain the details of all consultations, and to date have carried out 26 consultations for the community.

What if I’ve Found a Problem?

If you identify a problem with an existing REFEDS output and no working group is currently addressing the issues, you can report it to the REFEDS Coordinators.  We keep a log of errata to feed into future work.