Voluntary basis of network
The Groningen Declaration is a declaration of intent. It has no binding power. The Executive Committee can not ask participants to do things other than voluntarily.
This sets the way the network seeks to achieve its goals.
The participants to the Global Founding seminar in 2012 were selected on a number of considerations. First and foremost, central depositories – central student data administration systems – were invited, since these are the official bodies that can provide access to a citizen’s aggregate educational data. Most such depositories work with and on behalf of the institutions in an official capacity; in the US, such depositories have agency status.
The data these depositories silo are held on behalf of the institutions. On a more aggregate level, depositories provide statistical data, based for instance on graduation rates, to accrediting agencies, state entities and the Public. These aggregate statistical data are typically used by state entities for the purpose of budgetting HEIs, for national student loan systems, and for education funding systems.
Official status of signatories
The depositories that have signed the Groningen Declaration network all share most if not al of these functions. And they are all in a position to bring about majority national participation in this international initiative, in an official capacity. Next to these depositories, there are a number of other signatories. These other signatories so far have been selected for their being not for profit membership associations that have a direct connection or association to the institutional owners of the student data
Given the status of these official depositories and the fact that a platform for international networking so far had been lacking, building up trust is critical. This, and the non binding voluntary form of cooperation may prove to be the critical elements for the success of the network. It is for these reasons that participation has been on an “by-invitation-only” basis till now – so as to provide that trust beween participants.
Opening up to other stakeholders – by invitation
Right from the start, though, stakeholders other than depositories have also been invited. As already indicated, not for profit membership associations such as EAIE, EUNIS, and AACRAO also signed the Groningen Declaration.
The network clearly looks to reach out to other stakeholders, and the Executive Committee routinely reviews new prospective participants. Once approved, new participants are added to the invited participants list that is being maintained by the Secretariat.