Director of Open Source Programs Office
Carnegie Mellon University
With the recent White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) memorandum on public access (“Nelson memo”), federal funding agencies are placing greater emphasis on sharing and managing data and software, particularly as they relate to the reproducibility of results and access for the general public. While the OSTP memo and feedback from federal funders identify specific elements and recommendations related to data, there remains a need to further define recommendations and policies for software. Fundamentally, universities have an opportunity at a critical moment in time to advise the federal government and funders about managing and sharing open source software. It is worth noting that the private sector has already defined a set of open source software canonical licenses, engineering practices, etc. from which universities could learn. At the Fall 2021 CNI membership meeting, the session on university-based open source programs offices (OSPOs) outlined the case for universities to create institutional awareness and capacity regarding open source software as a primary research output with the potential to support new forms of research, learning, translation, and community engagement. Early evidence supports the notion that OSPOs are an empowering organizational API between universities and other stakeholders such as the federal government. Since that session, multiple universities (most with funding from the Sloan Foundation) have created university OSPOs. The briefing will outline the work of OSPO++ (a community of OSPOs) toward developing a guide for additional universities to make the case for and set up OSPOs and reflect the provocative assertion that university libraries are running out of time and opportunity to support our researchers’ compliance with federal public access policies.