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Job Opening

Decentralized Storage Researcher

About OpenArchive

OpenArchive is an experienced research and development nonprofit organization dedicated to the ethical collection and long-term preservation of mobile media. We work to promote freedom of expression and privacy on the internet by creating tools, guides, and workshops to protect human rights defenders and their media. Our work centers both large human rights focused NGOs as well as activist communities, researchers, designers, developers, academic institutions, and advocates to create and share best practices in order to advance secure, long-term mobile media preservation and internet freedom for marginalized and targeted communities.

About the Position

To guide our development of decentralized archiving options within our app, Save, we’re seeking a researcher who can evaluate the needs of our archivist communities and the potential of various decentralized storage technologies to meet those needs.

We’re focused on making the app and archival process as easy as possible for Decentralized Archivist Communities (DAC’s) to use. Your focus will be to identify the affordances and threats of various decentralized storage technologies and analyze how they might be advantageous or harmful to our users.

Each community has varying privacy, security, durability, accessibility, and usability needs. Your job will be to work with archivist OpenArchive’s community managers, find the common threads, and identify their most pressing unmet needs.

You’ll use your understanding of both what’s needed and the trajectory of capabilities delivered by decentralized solutions to guide the design and development roadmap for Save. Some questions that need to be answered include:

  • How does sharing a video file using IPFS look different on a network versus uploading it to a server using WebDAV? Would it set off red flags for a mobile network operator?
  • Who can see when a file is published on IPFS, and are there any additional layers of access control or encryption that can be added, either within IPFS or on top of it?

We also need to consider how the perceived permanence of publishing something on the decentralized web, often seen as a feature, could also be harmful, if sensitive images or videos are accidentally released or need to be removed.

You’ll be expected to co-design research questions with OpenArchive leadership and investigate those questions independently. Figuring out what the right questions are the first step, answering them is the second, and sharing the findings with the OpenArchive team, and eventually the world, is the final outcome. You’ll publish your findings in appropriate forums along the way, be they academic journals, blogs, whitepapers, or internal reports.


  • Work with OpenArchive Tech Lead to develop specific research questions;
  • Apply established research methods to specific research questions;
  • Provide interim updates to the OpenArchive team;
  • Produce blog posts, academic articles, whitepapers, talks, etc. detailing research findings.

Required skills and experience

  • Demonstrated ability to plan & execute research including forming questions, collaborating with peers, and publishing results as academic papers, whitepapers, specifications, blog posts, talks or other formats;
  • Strong verbal and written communication;
  • Experience with privacy enhancing technologies (encryption, circumvention, etc.);
  • Threat analysis and modeling;
  • Experience working in peer-to-peer and/or decentralized storage architecture, technology, and platforms.

Preferred qualifications

  • Graduate degree in a related field;
  • Experience working with those in internet environments facing challenges emerging from electricity and bandwidth limitations, censorship, surveillance, and other oppressive, anti-open-internet activities.

Working with us

OpenArchive aims to empower people to have more agency over the long-term preservation, privacy, management, and access to their mobile media. We are working on challenging, but compelling problems at the crux of privacy, usability, and long-term preservation of mobile media. If you are passionate about helping people create secure, robust, personal archives to preserve mobile media, especially media made by historically marginalized communities, or are just interested in making secure archiving tools more usable, we’d love to hear from you.


This position reports to the OpenArchive Tech Lead.


This position is remote. OpenArchive operates as a distributed team, with core staff based in the U.S., and others based in Africa, Latin America, and Europe. Overlap with US time-zones is preferred.


This is a flexible contract position that can be full- or part-time, depending on the researcher’s availability, to be completed within one year with a maximum project budget of $100,000.

Application Process

To apply, please send the following:

  • Your resume;
  • A cover letter that explains your interest in the position and why you believe you are well-suited for the role;
  • Two references and their contact information (email or phone);
  • A link to an example of your relevant work that best represents the competencies outlined here. For instance, links to previous research and publications or outputs including white papers, blog posts, videos, etc.
Please submit your application directly to: jobs[at]

We will consider applications on a rolling basis.

Creating a diverse environment
OpenArchive is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.