Open Source Program Offices (OSPOs) are an organizational innovation developed initially by companies in the tech sector as a way to institutionalize support for open source software projects of strategic relevance to the business’s interests, market, and workforce. The innovation has begun to be adopted by universities, with OSPOs being created as a useful formal mechanism for managing relationships with ecosystems of open source communities that play important roles in universities missions in research, teaching, and public service.
Funds from this grant support an ambitious set of activities at the University of California at Santa Cruz to transcend the scope of work undertaken by the existing Center for Research in Open Source Software (CROSS) and create a new university-wide OSPO. Led by Carlos Maltzahn and Stephanie Lieggi, the project team plans to develop a “marketplace” of open source software projects across multiple UC campuses and associated national labs, create a postdoctoral “incubator fellowship” which will enable fellows to grow communities around their research prototypes, launch an undergraduate research experience program, maintain a graduate student teaching fellowship focused on curricular innovation, and develop a better interface between the university and industry.
Taken together the initiative represents a significant increase in UC Santa Cruz’s ability to identify and support open source research efforts and will serve as a useful organizational model with the potential to be adopted more broadly across the academic landscape. The UC Santa Cruz OSPO will also explore expansion towards a system-wide OSPO at the University of California.