CASIS Is Putting ISS Behind a Paywall for Taxpayer Access (Update)

Keith's note: NASA is giving CASIS $15 million a year and the keys to a large portion of a $100 billion space station - one funded by taxpayers. But in order for a taxpayer or company to get everything that CASIS is offering they have to pay. Check out the CASIS membership site. This is fundamentally absurd - and I cannot fathom how NASA would agree to this. Everything that this taxpayer-funded organization does with NASA funding on the ISS should be available to all of those people who are already paying for it - and have been paying for it for decades. Whatever happened to the "transparency" and "openness" that NASA was supposed to be demonstrating? And what about the DIY ethos that the White House has been promoting? Putting a government-funded asset like the iSS behind a paywall is the antithesis of this.

You get more with Space Science Circle benefits (for $1,000) than the benefits for being a Founder (for $50,000). The Space Science Circle Benefits say you get the following:

- Enrollment in the Science in Space Network
- CASIS Annual Report
- 2012 Commemorative Inaugural Pin
- Special scientific updates from CASIS
- Donor recognition in CASIS' annual report
- Advance copy of CASIS' "State of the Science in Space" annual report
- Donor recognition at CASIS' headquarters

The Founder benefits say you get "recognition and complimentary access to CASIS Science Symposia, access to research material, science updates and implementation partners, and premiere corporate logo recognition on CASIS' website."

Keith's update: According to an email from CASIS: "membership model is spelled out exactly as NASA demanded in our Cooperative Agreement" (full comment below). The operative statement is: "The membership structure and fee schedule shall ensure that no interested individual or organization shall be required to pay a fee in order to submit a grant proposal to CASIS or to use the ISS NL." If you look at the benefits you get for paying big bucks they include "Special scientific updates from CASIS", "Enrollment in the Science in Space Network", and "Advance copy of CASIS' "State of the Science in Space" annual report". If you do not pay the fees you either do not get this level of access or have to wait to get things that paying members get early. There are no "benefits" listed after "Member" - they are only listed after the categories where money is charged. This is denying full access to anyone who does not pay and is in contradiction to what the Cooperative Agreement requires.

Also if you look at the membership page, CASIS can't even get its web designer to proof read the page. "Associate" costs either $100 or $250; "Contributor" costs either $250 or $500. Which is it?

Keith's update: They have fixed this page so that the numbers match up - this is what it originally looked like.

According to an email from CASIS: "membership model is spelled out exactly as NASA demanded in our Cooperative Agreement: "The CASIS Board of Directors will ensure that the membership structure and fee schedule support the services and programs provided by CASIS and are fair and reasonable in light of the benefits provided to members. The membership structure shall include separate fee structures for corporate, non-profit, and individual members, as appropriate. CASIS will develop membership programs that interest and engage each category of membership. The programs will provide for sliding scales of fees for different categories of members, depending on the exchange of benefits and receipt of in- kind services. Additionally, CASIS will define the membership agreement rules for the different categories of membership. The membership structure, fee schedule, and membership benefits, programs, and rules shall be defined in the Annual Program Plan (APP) and posted on the CASIS website for transparency. The membership structure and fee schedule shall ensure that no interested individual or organization shall be required to pay a fee in order to submit a grant proposal to CASIS or to use the ISS NL. CASIS will solicit individuals and entities to become members, including investigators, funding sources, implementation partners, research institutions, universities, K-12 schools, and other parties with an interest in the ISS NL."

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on May 18, 2012 3:13 PM.

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