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Governance at the pla


This overview describes how the PharmaLedger Association (PLA) is governed, including the governance of our open source projects and graduated products, as well as the governance of the non-profit association itself.

As a Basel, Switzerland-based, membership-led non-profit, PLA is governed by a set of bylaws, as are many other companies. The Membership elects a Board of Directors which sets the strategy of the organization and appoints officers; these officers then execute the organization's strategy.

Corporate governance

Similar to other open-source not-for-profits, PLA distinguishes between the
governance of our projects and products and the governance of our organization. While the core principles of open- source governance, licensing, transparency, ecosystem-led, vendor agnostic, are reflected within our corporate governance activities, the details of how the organization legally works are somewhat different than how our projects work.

The Members of PLA are similar to shareholders; they set and approve the 3 year strategy and annual operating plan and budget, and may appoint Directors to our Board.

The Board sets the organization's strategy, appoints officers, approves new products, delegates strategy and organizational execution areas to officers, and delegates responsibility for managing products and projects to the appropriate teams and committees.

The board elects a Board Chair (a director) and appoints a standard range of executive officers. Officers are employees of the
organization and serve at the direction of the board in their specific areas of responsibility.

We always have a complete list of officers published. Officers are responsible both for managing the Association's affairs in their specific areas and for reporting quarterly status reports to the board.

Our current officers include an Executive Director.

The board currently has not elected to form any Board Committees.

Our high-level org chart shows the separation between strategic governance (The Board and Members) organizational governance (the organization staff) and product and project governance (Product Teams and Project Teams).


Within PLA, the board delegates the operation of each product or project to its appropriate product or project team (PT). PTs are expected to follow corporate policies in terms of licensing, branding, infrastructure reference implementations, and so on, and to manage their projects independently. PTs are tasked with all other aspects of project management, especially technical direction.

PTs work to produce software for the benefit of patients and the Digital Trust Ecosystem by creating and evolving releases of their project's software products.

Committers are members of the open-source development community who have been granted write access to a PLA product. Each project's PT invites people who have shown merit within their project to become committers. Committers who are not employees or external contractors to PLA must sign a Contributor Agreement (CA), which clearly defines the terms under which the committer contributes intellectual property to PLA. This allows our projects to ensure that they can safely release the products they publish under the MIT License.


In our ecosystem-led organization, there are many other groups of individuals and organizations that provide valuable work and services for PLA projects but are not directly part of our corporate governance.

PLA pays for a number of services including for contractors to keep our core infrastructure and product development running the MIT License.

Contributors are individuals who contribute source code patches, and documentation and help on mailing lists to PLA projects. All PLA projects greatly appreciate the volunteers who have contributed to our projects.

Contributors do not have a specific governance role. However, healthy projects are always on the lookout for productive and helpful
contributors whom they can consider nominating as new committers.

Users use and often ask for help with our software. Many users are non technical, in particular our patient community, but still spend the time to submit bug reports and answer questions on our project's mailing lists.

Sponsors are members of the Association who wish to fund Lab projects directly. Sponsored projects shall be subject to the same operational rules as defined in the Lab Manual but shall have project goals defined by the Sponsoring organization. Sponsored projects must be aligned with the Association’s purpose.

PLA contracts with a number of vendors to provide specific services, like accounting, marketing, legal counsel, hosting services, and the like. Vendors are not otherwise part of our governance structures. Vendor relationships are managed by the Executive Director and management team.