Rochester Institute of Technology

To pilot a student-anchored model supporting faculty open source software needs and build capacity at the Rochester Institute of Technology Open Source Projects Office

  • Amount $499,121
  • City Rochester, NY
  • Investigator Stephen Jacobs
  • Year 2020
  • Program Technology
  • Sub-program Better Software for Science

Open source software (OSS) is an increasingly vital component of the scientific research enterprise, used in one form or another at every point in the research pipeline, from instrument calibration, to data collection and cleaning, to analysis and visualization, to archiving.  The centrality and importance of OSS has led to the realization within academic institutions of the need for formal mechanisms to identify and support those OSS projects most central to its researchers.  One model being explored is the creation of university Open Source Programs Offices (OSPO), special intra-university bodies charged with the support of important open source software.    This grant funds an innovative OSPO-like effort at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), led by Steven Jacobs.  The initiative, called Open@RIT, helps university researchers secure funding for OSS work, enlists undergraduates to work directly with RIT faculty on OSS projects, collects data on faculty involvement with OSS, and supports the creation of documentation and other resources that are essential to effective OSS projects.  Grant funds will support the salary of an office staff member to provide administrative support as well as funding for a pool of undergraduate students who wish to work on faculty OSS projects. The grant will help the Open@RIT effort grow, build relationships across the university, and publicize dependence of many campus activities on open source software.  The team also plans to develop a playbook for other institutions interested in launching similar efforts on their own campuses.

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