Open Annotation Phase II RFP Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated: 5/10/2011

  1. There is an error in the email address that proposals are to be submitted to on page 6 of the Open Annotation RFP guidelines. This address should be (NOTE: Support for the oac2rfp email address has been discontinued!) Note that the correct email address for submissions subsequently appears on page 7 of the Open Annotation RFP guidelines. A revised version of this document is now available.
  2. What information is required for the Letter of Intent?
    • The Letter of Intent is free‐form and it need not be very long. In a paragraph or two, it should give us a sense of the planned proposal and include the name of the institutions involved, as well as the names affiliations, and email addresses of participants involved. The content of the letter may be incorporated into the formal proposal as appropriate. Please include links to content and/or project information related to your plans. You can expect to receive an acknowledgement of your letter of intent. But, no reply to the substance of your letter should be expected unless the reviewers have questions about your letter.
  3. What constitutes "indirect cost" as referred to in the RFP?
  4. What are the reporting requirements?
  5. What program at Mellon is sponsoring the Open Annotation project?
    • Open Annotation Phase II is made possible by a grant from the Scholarly Communications and Information Technology Program of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Program Officer: Don Waters, Associate Program Officer: Helen Cullyer. For more information see:
  6. Will my proposal be considered even if my Letter of Intent is late or if I am unable to send a Letter of Intent (e.g. due to time constraints, etc.)?
    • Yes. While the Letter of Intent is optional, all RFP respondents are highly encouraged to submit a Letter of Intent as it will permit Open Annotation to guage the overall repsonse to this RFP and enable reviewers to provide initial feedback to respondents in the event that they have questions about your intended proposal (see #1 above).
  7. Will the Letter of Intent be used to "weed" out applications?
    • No. There is no maximum number of respondents who will be considered for this RFP. The Letter of Intent is actually optional; however, everyone who intends to respond to this RFP is highly encouraged to submit a Letter of Intent. Projects submitting a Letter of Intent may receive feedback from RFP reviewers (see #1 above).
  8. The guidelines request a "Transmittal cover letter on institutional letterhead from the proposed project PI or other appropriate officer of the Respondent institution." Is this a letter from the institution confirming the institution supports the research?
  9. Where Open Annotation's Full Text RFP guidelines vary from Mellon's proposal guidelines, which document should take precedence?
    • In instances where the Mellon proposal guidelines vary from Open Annotation's RFP guidelines, the Open Annotation guidelines take precedence. The Foundation's guidelines are meant to be a reference regarding the overall style and nature of proposals submitted for this RFP. In particular, each proposal submitted in response to Open Annotation's RFP should include an executive summary which will be shared with Open Annotation's Advisory Board.
  10. Should our proposal declare which institution (UIUC or Maryland) we want to partner with, or can this be left open?
    • The proposals should be left open; however, including information such as familiarity with or intent to use one of the software packages or the existence of a user base at one of the institutions will be helpful for making these determinations once the the proposal selection process has been completed.
  11. Do we need to submit both a transmittal letter on institutional letterhead from the proposed project PI or other appropriate officer of the respondent institution AND a letter endorsing the proposal from the head of the submitting institution?
    • You will only need to submit a transmittal letter on institutional letterhead from the proposed project PI or other appropriate officer of the Respondent institution. The Open AnnotationRFP takes precedence over the Mellon Guidelines here, so you will not need to submit a letter endorsing the proposal.
  12. When submitting the transmittal letter, is it better for it to come from/be signed by the PI or from the head of the institution?
    • The project's principle investigator is the preferred signer for the transmittal letter. Barring that person's availability then an appropriate person from the institution, such as its head, should sign the transmittal letter.
  13. To whom is the proposal being submitted -- Mellon or the University of Illinois? Which name goes on the cover sheet?
    • The University of Illinois should be used on the cover sheet as each sub-award contract will be through the University of Illinois.
  14. How should the budget for the proposed project be calculated? For instance team members of our project have annual salaries payed across nine months and are not payed during the summer months but the project takes place across the summer and fall months. On what basis should thier time commitment be calculated? Should the effort of each participant be calculated based on the total spent on the project, and have nothing to do with salary information?
    • Budget requested for personnel salary and benefits should be calculated and shown in budget submitted as percentages of FTE (Full-Time Equivalents) over some period of time. For example, "10% of FTE for 6 months." To translate these FTE percentages into dollars, you should use the normal budgetary calculating procedures of your institution -- the same as would be used if submitting salary requested direct cost figures to NSF or NEH, but please be sure to explain how salary requested is calculated (e.g., for faculty paid on 10 month basis whether monthly salary used for calculations in proposal is calculated from annual salary by dividing by 10 or by 12). Please do include annual salary figures (or equivalent) for all personnel who will be working on the project. Be sure to breakout as separate columns personnel salary and personnel benefit expenses and do not include any tuition remission or indirect cost recovery (overhead expenses). It is acceptable for budgeted FTE percentage to vary over the course of the project -- e.g. you could show a higher percentage of your time during the summer months, just be sure to be clear so we understand how you got to your final numbers. See: for additional guidance and suggestions.