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 supporting open source software relevant to the research and teaching interests of faculty. University OSPOs offer training and support for faculty, students, and staff who want to grow local software efforts into healthy open source projects, aid faculty contribute to existing projects, document the value of open source work and facilitate relationships between researchers and other academic units like technology transfer, research computing, or the library.
Funds from this grant support an ambitious set of activities at the University of Vermont developed by a group of people from three different parts of campus: the Library, the Vermont Complex Systems Center, and the Office of the Vice President for Research. Led by Juniper Lovato and Bryn Geffert, in the Vermont Complex Systems Center and Library, respectively, the team will build relationships with university stakeholders to create infrastructure for centralizing open-source activity, engage the broader community around an initial set of open-source projects, conduct trainings and create educational materials, and use all of the above as a case study to conduct open source ecosystems research.