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.
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.
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.
Baylor College of Medicine supports using Free and Open Source Software for its business operations whenever open source solutions meet business needs.
- Contributions to Existing Open Source Software Development Projects
Baylor encourages faculty and staff members to contribute to projects for the Open Source Software that they use. Suitable projects should have a clearly documented license approved by the Open Source Initiative.
Baylor faculty and staff should ensure that the level of contribution made to an external project is adequately credited within the project’s documentation.
If a project requires it, copyright for contributed code may be transferred to another party, but Baylor departments are responsible for evaluating such projects on a case-by-case basis and engaging with the Baylor Licensing Group and General Counsel to ensure they align with relevant Baylor policies before their employees participate.
- Creating and Sustaining Open Source Software Projects
Software created in-house may be released under an Open Source License approved by the Open Source Initiative when possible. Developers should work with the Baylor Licensing Group to implement the most appropriate licensing for their solution.
All software released by Baylor will include current contact information for the maintaining person, unit, or other entity, and a license statement. Developers should work with the Baylor Licensing Group to craft the most appropriate licensing terminology. Sample agreements, including the BSD Three Clause License, are available at the Open Source Initiative.
Open Source Software projects should use a public version control repository to manage the software when possible. GitHub is strongly recommended and Baylor has an enterprise GITHUB license.
- Abide by Best Practices for Open Source Software Development
The author of, or contributor to, an Open Source Software project will adhere to common codes of conduct within shared version control repositories and will address issues and other communications with the public in a timely, professional manner.
If there are situations that are not covered by this policy or if there are questions about the policy in general, please contact the Digital Governance Subcommittee.
*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.