These are the presentation notes for the Engaging with Open Source Technologies presentation during the NISO Open Source Publishing Technologies: Current Status and Emerging Possibilities webinar on Wednesday, August 14, 2019.
This session will focus on discussions of open source publishing platforms and systems. What is the value proposition? What functionalities are commonplace? Where are the pitfalls in adoption and use by publishers or by libraries? What potential is there for scholarly societies who are similarly responsible for publication support and dissemination? Given the rising interest in open access and open educational resources, this session will offer professionals a sense of what is available, a sense of practical concerns and a general sense of their future direction.
An open source project that focuses only on the code is missing out on some of the biggest opportunities that the open source philosophy offers. To be sure, developing software with an open source philosophy brings a diversity of knowledge and shares the development burden over a wide group. But a community that embraces that philosophy in the conception, design, specification, and development of a project can build exceptionally useful software and a fulfilling experience for all involved. This portion of the program explores some of the structures and processes found in successful open source communities using examples from projects inside and outside of field.
- Arp, Laurie Gemmill, and Megan Forbes. “It Takes a Village: Open Source Software Sustainability,” LYRASIS, February 2018. https://doi.org/10.7916/D89G70BS
- Fitzgerald, Brian. (2006). “The Transformation of Open Source Software.” MIS Quarterly, 30(3), 587. https://doi.org/10.2307/25148740
- Maxwell, John W, et al “Mind the Gap: A Landscape Analysis of Open Source Publishing Tools and Platforms,” July 2019. https://mindthegap.pubpub.org/
- Slide 1: “Codex Claustroneoburgensis 980” from College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University via DPLA
- Slide 10: “Agile Project Management by Planbox” via Wikimedia Commons
- Slide 15: “kiyomi gets chin scratches in PHX airport pet relief area” by Taro the Shiba Inu via Flickr
- Slide 16: “Sunset” from the National Archives and Records Administration via DPLA
Key Quotations from Resources
Brian Fitzgerald in 2006 wrote of a significant shift in how open-source software projects were being considered and operated. Fitzgerald noted that the rise of successful open-source software (which he called “OSS 1.0”) was characterized by self-organized, Internet-based projects that gathered loose communities around sheer willingness to participate. Fitzgerald identified a newer mode, which he called “OSS 2.0,” characterized by “purposeful design” and institution-sponsored “vertical domains,” and much more likely to include paid developers. From Mind the Gap.
The fear of enclosure is certainly not the only force driving open-source development. Many funding agencies require that software developed under a grant be released as OSS in order to keep the fruits of their funding from disappearing into some corporation’s vaults. There is also the hope, at least, of increased scale: a publisher or a library, interested to develop a bespoke tool, will find it difficult to justify the cost of development and maintenance if the only user will ever be itself. For many, the idea of open source implies a shared deployment model that distributes, if not the cost, at least the value, across a larger community. From Mind the Gap.