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Open Source Software

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Summary: This article describes the governance by which use of and contribution to open source software will be managed.

Approving Authority: Office of Information Technology

Last Updated: Dec. 10, 2018

Purpose: The purpose of this governance is to ensure the appropriate use of, contribution to and creation and release of Open Source Software to support open scholarship at Baylor College of Medicine.

Scope: This governance applies to all open source software that is used, contributed to or licensed by Baylor College of Medicine.

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Definitions

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Contribution is a tangible product created by individuals that help advance an Open Source Software project. Examples of contributions include: programming, bug fixes, issue reports, feature suggestions, and documentation.

Open Source Software (OSS) is “software that can be freely used, changed, and shared (in modified or unmodified form) by anyone” (http://opensource.org/) and is distributed under a license approved by the Open Source Initiative, e.g. one of the licenses found here.

A Project—specifically, an Open Source Software project—includes the entirety of collaborative activity, such as planning, discussion, design, documentation, and programming, that furthers the development of a piece of Open Source Software.

Software refers to computer programs, or any set of instructions intended to be executed by a machine, including (but not limited to) executable files, libraries, and scripts.

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Responsibilities

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The Office of Information Technology – Core Application Services will work with developers to create the necessary GitHub repositories for their project.

There may be times when a creator of software wants to consider the ramifications of an OSS license. Developers should work with Baylor Licensing Group (BLG) and General Counsel to consider the commercial potential (or inordinate risk) in software being considered for release via open source.

Creators of software and BLG should discuss access and ensure alignment on the future for a particular piece of code.

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Guidelines

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Processes

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Contributions to Existing Open Source Software Development Projects

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Creating and Sustaining Open Source Software Projects

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Abide by Best Practices for Open Source Software Development

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*Note: Policies cited in the Digital Governance document (approved by the Board and published in March 2019) supersede any previous agreement, policy and/or guideline.

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Contact

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Cognizant Office: Office of Information Technology – Enterprise Technology

General questions should be directed to the Digital Governance Subcommittee.