OA21 Plenary: Open Source Program Offices in Higher Education

Jun 23, 2021 19:09 · 5641 words · 27 minute read

Choudhury is the associate dean for research data management and head of the open source program office at johns hopkins university jhu took a leaf out of industries book and formed an open source project office you might think of it as a universal interface between an institution and the open source community if you want to make comments or ask questions please use the hashtag openapereo21 on twitter if you want to ask questions via the pod web page you’re viewing through you should find a chat window in that page sayeed thanks for joining us and over to you thank you ian i really appreciate the opportunity to be here and be part of the apereo 21 and it’s nice to catch up with you so i will be talking about the open source programs office at johns hopkins but also more broadly about open source programs offices in higher education and i think ian said it perfectly that in many ways this is an interface between the open source activity within an institution within the university and a way to engage with the broader open source community as well i noticed that deb bryant is a speaker in the next session and she has very rightly and wisely said that it’s ultimately about changing the culture but as you might know any of you who’ve been in universities though that that’s not a small task so i’d like to talk about some of the things we’re going to try to move in that direction uh ian mentioned that this is something we are adapting or if you will borrowing from the industry uh private sector context so there these ospos has been called the research programs offices that existed for some time in corporations and it’s not only tech companies as you might imagine the google’s microsoft’s the red hats but american airlines walmart so on so anyone using open source which i don’t need to tell this audience of course is pervasive at this point uh has thought about how do we manage open source and how do we coordinate the activity how do we think about it from a legal perspective policy perspective and engineering perspective so a lot of the emphasis of these private sector corporate ospos have been on those kinds of operational entities but that’s expanding as well so we did learn a good deal from looking at existing ospos there’s a fairly long history of them at this point there’s a group that’s out of the linux foundation called the to do group which is kind of an affinity group or for birds of a feather so we looked at a lot of their documentation and i’ve often said as we’ve been working on this at hopkins that companies and universities and even municipalities will have a cio or hr office or legal office and there’s a common set of perspectives and functions for those offices but then each have their own unique perspectives in universities we have to think about patient data or student data for example that you might not in a company or a city so taking that common foundation but then adapting it and applying it in the university context is really what we’ve we’ve been doing over the last 18 to 24 months and a lot of that is really out of uh something called the ospo plus plus network so very much a group uh a growing community that’s dedicated to exactly what i just described  how do we take the ospo as an entity a corporate entity and start to think about it in these different contexts universities and cities uh and so on so i am saying something about the volume if that’s still an issue let me know i’ll try to speak up i’m using air pods but i can also not use those if they aren’t working well so uh we have created the ospo just to let you know uh there’s a webpage of course something becomes real when there’s a web page associated with it i will share a list of the links at the end of the talk but we put it out there so that our local community can see this and can start to access the services that we’re starting to build and start to build a community around open source so what are some of the things you know that we’ve sort of propagated within the university if you will the first bullet item basically says it’s a new organizational api that was software as a primary research object what do i mean by that so uh from january to june of 2020 and actually a little bit earlier and later than that i was a fellow in our provost office looking at open scholarship and one of the important assertions that i made is open scholarship includes articles data and software and that all three of them should be treated as primary research objects we’ve spent a lot of time and energy around articles a fair amount of time around data but i would say relatively less around open source software as its own primary research object and anytime you’re talking about a research output or a research object in university setting it activates various parts of the university of course that you typically work with when you’re talking about articles data grants and so on and the idea is that it’s not easy for an external entity uh you know a company a city a municipality a community to figure out where to go within a university if you want to engage around open source software we’re basically saying the ospo is a good place to do that ospo is a good first starting point to say i’m interested in what open source software is being produced by the university or potentially partnering or contributing or consuming that the ospo becomes a place that that happens so the way to do that of course is through best practices not having idiosyncratic practices or ad-hoc practices or specific practices but trying to do things in a way that resonate with the community that you’re trying to work with for example and that empowers the kind of collaboration engagement that i think is really critical and again i’m preaching to the choir here around open source software and it builds on these three big pillars of universities around research education and translation by translation i sometimes people immediately think of tech transfer which is one way of doing translation but i’m thinking of it more broadly which is how does the research within a university get used in educational context get used in terms of working with your local city or used uh in terms of student projects and things like that so the ospo has taken a really important role in that and i’ll talk a little bit more about that later in the talk so some of the things that we’ve done uh through the ospo in terms of building this foundation is we have signed and managed the github enterprise account and you may think what’s the big deal about that well big deals we didn’t have one before uh i’m told that it’s not all that common uh we get at least u.

s universities and it’s a it’s a key part of what we’re using to try and build an inventory of the open source software uh i i say this you know publicly and sometimes i’m asked just a little bit embarrassing to admit we don’t have such an inventory of all the open source software hopkins but increasing them beginning to realize this this may be a challenge in many places i don’t think it’s quite it’s not trivial to show up at a university and say can you tell me all the open source software you’re producing so we’re starting with that kind of foundational level uh you know activity and we are working with a company called bitergia which has very strong connections to the open source community taking that inventory or the the growing inventory of the data and providing sort of visual ways of looking at dashboards and running analytics and so on and there’s a group called the chaos framework which i believe is community health analytics for open source software that’s coming up with metrics to measure the mouth at the health sorry of open source software so bitergia and some of the principles of bitergia are a key part of that so we’re trying to connect with that as well we have a grant from the sloan foundation to run what’s called a free and open source of foss contributor fund if you’re familiar with this the idea is uh your community within an organization votes on open source software that are most important either in terms of use or dependencies supply chain issues things like that and then as a community we then fund those projects we have a monthly uh mechanism to provide funding for them uh so we are implementing the first of those within a university context and a lot of interesting challenges around who is a contributor in the university uh you know what constitutes you know uh hopkins open source software versus user community source software and so on uh there’s a couple of projects that i’ll talk about a little bit in in a couple of slides and tests and the public access submission system that you’re directly getting support uh from this ospo and then i’ll end with the discussion about something called semesters of code which is what we’re launching through the institute for applied open source which is a layer on top of the osps so one other thing i want to mention before i talk about the projects specifically is we’ve become members of the eclipse foundation so the ospo led the effort to to do this uh and it’s particularly important for the public access submission system which i’ll talk about but i think it’s also important because it’s a strong signal to our university community that we are now tied through a membership if you will to the open source community to an eclipse foundation and this is not exclusive we’re talking to the linux foundation uh we’d be very keen to look at other kinds of foundations but trying to convey to the university there is this external community that organizes itself through these foundations and we need to become part of that rather than sort of being our own little silo in the open source community and then not knowing what’s happening on broadway so let me talk a little bit about lutece uh you can see a url there that talks about the story lutece is a platform an open source platform that was developed by the city paris over many years with significant amounts of funding it is used to provide hundreds of digital services for the citizens of paris many of the things that you typically do as a citizen i need to file a ticket for an issue i need to file for a permit things of that nature but also some i would say fairly novel and interesting types of things as well something called participatory budgeting where five percent of uh paris budget is allocated to direct con uh input from citizens direct voting and choices so um that i i don’t exactly remember the number but it’s a significant amount of funding i believe something like 100 million euros has been allocated through this participatory budgeting so citizens in paris saying this is what i care about so the fun should be going to that we’ve been working with the team in paris the cio’s office that manages lutece and a local community center in west baltimore called the saint francis neighborhood center and what we’re doing is basically piloting a lutece instance for uh saint francis for for their digital services and for their community uh they they are very energetic and visionary kind of community center that has a smarts a digital strategy that includes a smart center a lab with computers and digital services and lutece is going to be a key part of that so you have the city of paris johns hopkins university and a community center in west baltimore working together on this lutece platform so any of you who’ve tried to sign mou’s or agreements um with university between universities but imagine a university a city in another country and a community center in your city i think you know how complicated that could be one of the most interesting points i can raise is the open source license for lutece is the framework under which we are operating so we have not signed any mous we have not signed any agreements uh we’re just saying there is a license that is the license under which this collaboration and this partnership occurs so that kind of seamless um you know frictionless or at least less friction way of working together is a really important part of the story in addition to the specific things we’re doing around lutece itself the public access submission system or pass is something that we developed at hopkins in partnership with harvard and mit it is a platform to support federal funding agencies in the united states public access compliance and institutional open access compliance what do i mean by that if i receive a grant from the national institutes of health i’m required to get a copy of the articles from those grants into pubmed central their article repository that may happen through a publisher but pass is a system that allows you to do that directly as a researcher as a principal investigator and to simultaneously submit that article into your institutional repository so at the same time a copy of the article goes into both those platforms and we have i have a current grant with the u.

s national science foundation to generalize this to work with other federal funders so the ultimate aim is i have a grant from nsf and nih and i have an article i have to submit into both of those repositories and my institutional repository if i wish and pass allows for that simultaneous kind of submission so it’s very much a system to reduce the burden on researchers to help them with their compliance with with funding requirements and institutional open access policies it’s it’s an open source platform what’s probably most important to share in this context is we have submitted a proposal to the eclipse foundation to make an official product and that the main drivers for this are that we believe in order for pass to be used by other institutions to be supported by federal funders the best way to do that is to make it an eclipse foundation and again insert your favorite foundation if you wish uh you know eclipse foundation product so that it’s a strong signal that while it may have been developed in hopkins we are moving it into the community and we are asking for the community uh to work on this and again i’m sure many people in the audience are familiar with this kind of work or have been involved in similar kinds of things like sakai and so on but we’re doing this as an institution working with an open source foundation with support from our provost office with support from federal funders uh you know with support from other universities so getting that kind of coordination around a particular platform again you’re seeing this theme of open source it’s not just about the code it’s not just about the particular technology you’re using but it’s a way of working together building a community and partnering together so i mentioned this institute for applied open source the ospo as i spoke about earlier is really focused much more on the operational side of things but that how you leverage and move the open source into research and education and translation we’re doing that through this institute for applied source it was launched in partnership with the department of computer science the chair of computer science endorsed the idea and we raised this with the provost at the university we’ve done a few things already one is a series of webinars and events under the auspices of ospo plus plus which i described previously uh and these range from uh you know how do ospos work in the private sector how do they work in municipalities how can they work universities to legal issues to best practices and so on but what i’m really excited about is something called semesters of code these are more immersive experiences for students to learn about software engineering in an open source way and to learn about the non-technical aspects of open source as well the policy the business models you know things of that nature the community building the maintainers things like that we are obviously building on similar types of things like hackathons and google summer of code but this is very much embedded into the educational experience so students at hopkins would take this as part of their education as part of um you know their sort of internship programs if you will we had a mini course this past january in between semesters taught by stephen wally who’s a principal at microsoft he’s very well received stephen has decades of experience in software engineering and at least 20 years of experience in open source has a very interesting metaphor with cooking if you think about cooking for yourself it’s a very you know individual kind of activity by definition if you cook for someone else then you have to probably you know ask about dietary preferences and how you do things together imagine that being a family imagine that being thanksgiving dinner imagine that being catering you suddenly start to get more complex you have to be more formal about your requirements gathering you can’t make assumptions you can do things my way and then imagine you know cooking for thousands of people what it means to produce food at that scale so that kind of metaphor of what you go from an individual you know programmer sitting at the keyboard to producing industrial skill software to compare this and done through the lens of open source so in the fall of 2021 we will be teaching a semester-long course now where students will be involved in this and will start to learn about the software engineering practices and making actual contributions to actual projects working with the communities that are using the project one thing we hear repeatedly from our students is i need more practical real world hands-on experience we’re hearing that from their employers you know i mentioned we’re working with microsoft so you know microsoft has said hopkins has lots of good students bright bright students but when we hire them it takes some amount of weeks to sort of reorient their way of thinking to do this kind of collaborative software engineering so we’re trying to prepare the students not only to learn more about software engineering but be better candidates when they apply for jobs or even go on to graduate school whatever they choose this this monitor you see at the bottom open source as a verb not only a noun really resonates with this theme i keep talking about it you learn much about how open source works in these non-technical ways when you do these kinds of things not only that you know the product is not the only thing you should be focused on when working on open source some of the projects that we have as candidates for semesters of code including tests and pass the ones i just described semesterly is a very interesting platform that was developed by students at hopkins uh it is now used at other institutions i believe and it basically helps you choose courses and understand scheduling conflicts and things like that and i think they have ambitions for it to be more of you know sort of a time management kind of tool if you will opencravat is a national institute of health funded effort run out of hopkins i am not a biomedical researcher but what i hear is it’s kind of like an app store for biomedical tools and apps and software the ohdsi which is listed here is a multi-institutional multi-software kind of entity and there are many many potential software projects like the candidates from there and then finally the united nations financial crime data challenge uh so the un is very interested in open source does a lot around open source is thinking about creating an ospo and has this this set of challenges around open source software to deal with financial crime and that could potentially be a candidate as well so the reason i’m showing this list is to show you sort of the diversity uh and the range of options that students will have some of the things that we are directly involved with some like past that we directly created like semesterly by the students uh other things that are grant funded faculty driven uh community driven or even internationally driven by the u.

n so trying to give exposure to a whole different set of kinds of projects different kinds of activities and uh have a matching kind of program right so some students may say i’m pre-med therefore i want to walk on opencravat or some of them may say it’s really frustrating for me to figure out my classes i want to work on semesterly or these are particular technologies i care about so i’d rather be focused on this kind of platform because the technology choices or the community that i’m working with you know i really care about baltimore and west baltimore and i care about the kinds of project problems that cities in the us might be dealing with so i’ll work on the pass so you can see it’s not only you sit down and you learn about software engineering but you kind of go through this process of learning open source is pervasive it’s being used in lots of different places for lots of different functions lots of different kind of problems and how do you find yourself and how do you fit yourself into that as well and for the projects you know we’re basically saying in many ways we’re going to help you with the onboarding problem uh and you know what do i mean by that is you have this open source project you want to get the people involved but there’s a steep learning curve but there’s a barrier there’s sort of a knowledge gap there’s a practice gap there’s just the anxiety if i’m new to this how do i work on something that i don’t know people i don’t know so the projects will have a better sense of what it means to prepare themselves to take contributions from others right so the students get the benefit of learning how to contribute the projects get the benefit of making it easier for students to contribute and we’re looking at things all the way from uh you know bug fixes documentation important things but that don’t necessarily require that deep kind of technology skill if you don’t have it but then all the way to you might make you know a feature a new feature or fix a feature one of these platforms so that range of kind of experiences will be really important as well so uh i have a few pointers and acknowledgments and i have three screens so i’m just going to scroll through them i want to make sure the font was large um this has really been uh a team effort uh i am the one presenting but there are many many people involved and i do want to mention jacob green and danese cooper in particular uh danese cooper is a very well known leader in the open source community has done a lot of amazing things jacob green is a hopkins alumnus he was a member of our computer science advisory board it was actually his idea to launch the ospo at johns hopkins uh and then you’ll see a few of the uh links to some of the things that i’ve described uh in the talk i would encourage you to check uh or join the ospo plus plus network if you’re interested in this because there’s a really interesting growing community there and as i’ve mentioned bitergia and the foss contributor fund are things we’re doing with the sloan foundation grant and this is the final set here and with that i think we may have some time for questions if there are um so i’d be happy to take those thanks sayeed that was a great talk um i’m particularly impressed by the semester of code idea and embedding open sourcing the curriculum with that kind of diversity is very exciting indeed there may be some apereo projects that are interested in uh in talking to you about that right that’d be great no we’d welcome that while we’re waiting for questions to come in i mean i i think i understand completely why there’s a focus on making institutional intellectual property far more visible and surfacing it to external parties and encouraging the external use of ip do you envisage an accompanying kind of reversal of that role is there an ospo role in software procurement for a university do you think uh like to give that a a thought or two very good question um the short answer is yes and one has to be careful how to present this because i think fundamentally there’s a couple of dimensions to that one is a risk mitigation component and another is a sustainability component so one of the things that a lot of the people in the private sector have been mentioning to me repeatedly is the digital supply chain right how am i dependent on open source in terms of just delivering all the services and functions that we deliver i don’t think universe i’ll speak for hopkins how’s that i don’t think hopkins is a really good idea of what our dependencies are in terms of this digital supply chain and we we don’t have yet and i’ll say yet policies in place right now or recommendations in place right now for individual pis departments units whatever about you’re interested in using open source here are some questions you should ask when you when you make those choices and you know we all know this we’re not telling faculty thou shalt do the following but at least ask these questions and if you don’t know the answer to those questions then maybe the ospo can help you and we have access to people who can help you so um we’ve done that around data right and i think one of the observations i didn’t go to this particular talk is a lot of the challenges we faced with data management in universities um we have an opportunity to reflect on those and try to do them in a different way around our software and one of the big benefits we have is that the private sector has actually done a lot in this space right there are open source licenses that they have developed in sanctions official licenses there are best practices there are ways they figure out how to share and procure and manage software so i you’re absolutely right that it’s not only about here’s what we have how how can we become contributors to other things but how do we consume open source software is a really key part of the ospo yeah thanks a lot there’s a question in from jim helwig of wisconsin madsion jhu is clearly quite a ways down the road with a robust ospo do you have tips on how we can start to advocate for or get started on creating an ospo in our own campus yeah that’s a great question uh and as you might imagine it’s popping up even more and more um so the ospo plus plus network that i mentioned is a great place to start we have not been good about linking to the materials we’ve been producing and i i just sent an email this week saying i’m going to be talking about the ospo plus plus network we really need to get our resources on the website so um we’re hoping as early as next week when you go there it won’t just be you can join but you can actually see the resources which i think is a great place to start there are these bi-weekly conversations that community as well so i encourage you to join it’s really welcoming and open group um but we we are creating uh documents like what does an ospo university look like what does it do um and we’ve had a lot of uh discussions around that and had experts talking about this so that that’s a really good place to start i’d like to believe uh the ospo plus plus network in some sense is developing a protocol so that the ospos have at least some common way of working together and we don’t have one at hopkins and one in institution a and institution b and so on and then ultimately realize oh we can’t work together um so the ospo plus plus network is a good place to start that’s great thanks very much and and do make sure that we get those links and we’ll circulate them in the apereo community and put them on the website that’ll be perfect thank you well that’s been a really tremendously exciting half hour thanks very much for being with us again i’m going to move on to the next point on the agenda i hope folks will stay with us because we’re going to spend a little bit of time celebrating some of the volunteers that make apereo the community it is and that we rely on so just a second while we change slides there we go okay uh so an exciting part of the agenda every year when we celebrate as i said the apereo fellows and these are folks who are active in a range of apereo communities that this year i think they demonstrate particularly great diversity and commitment to the communities that they’re involved in so let’s welcome this year’s apereo fellows i’m not going to read all of every slide uh if you want to go to the apereo website you can find these but first first fellow david p bauer from the university of dayton who many of you will know has been active in sakai and tsugi for some considerable time david congratulations and welcome to apereo fellowship maximilliano lira del canto from the university of cologne uh active in the opencast community where he’s a software developer and consultant maximilliano well welcome to apereo fellowship olivier gerbe from hec montreal who is one of the architects of karuta must apologize to olivier big blue button you know it does a fantastic job of converting slides into pdf never seen that happen before my version of the pdf olivier is upright now we’re taking a side long look at him never mind that olivier welcome to apereo fellowship and thanks for your contribution and finally nikki massaro kauffman from penn state who’s active in elms ln elmsln is a next generation learning environment congratulations nikki and welcome to apereo fellowship and thanks also to anthony white from the university of michigan who acts as chair of the fellows appointment panel every year uh and thanks to those panel members wilma hodges matt jones stephen marquard and janice smith it’s a tough job uh there are many uh folks put forward for apereo fellowship this group of folks does a great job uh they’re all ex-fellows by the way now i have some quick announcements if you stay with me we’d love to have one more lightning talk in today’s final lightning talk round if you’ve been inspired by what you’ve seen and heard to provide a quick talk please email apereo coordinator at concentra hyphen cms.

com as soon as possible the conference doesn’t end today there are workshops scheduled for thursday and friday on thursday morning uh assessing the organizational health of open source software subject which is dear to many of our hearts i can find details in the program thursday and friday at 11 a. m u. s eastern uportal team are having a road map discussion and first contribution workshops make sure you join us in a few moments at on the hour to see our final keynote uh take a a bit of time to stretch and get up and move around but our final keynote at 11 eastern uh features deborah bryant from red hat lucy appert from nyu and anne marie scott from apereo gonna talk about the pandemic inclusion and open source and education so join us then have a bit of a break clear your head and come back with lots of questions for that panel thanks a lot.