SustainOSS Academic WG – Next Meeting

Hey all,

We’re restarting the SustainOSS Academia WG this month! Our first meeting will take place on September 28th at 12:00pm ET, for an hour.

The format is going to be a short introduction and context setting, followed by a 20 minute presentation, 15 minutes for questions, and then any other business. If you have anything you would like to add to the agenda, add it in a comment in the agenda, or add a comment below.

This month, we’re going to be announcing and focusing on an Ecosystem Map - a incomplete but editable list of universities, organizations, terms, and resources related to academia and open source. Our goal is to make this a place where we can track what is what and how organizations fit in. We’re hoping to use this as a springboard for other work down the line.

Please share widely! Anyone is welcome to attend.

Add to Google Calendar: If you would like a non-Google invite, or if you would like to be added to the calendar event itself, send me a note at


I’ve got a feeling that open source that born and supported in academia. Then academia allowed people more free time to pursue activities. Now with management practices, pursue of funding, efficiency, and responsibility from sponsors, there is less time, more distractions, so maintainers can no longer find the place in institutions.


happy to see that the WG is rebooting! That day/hour is a bit hard for me, but I’ll do my best!


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@jlcanovas Thanks! Looking forward to seeing you there.

@abitrolly That’s not true, from my experience - academic institutions do a ton to help out open source projects. It’d be good to collect those stories and share them, though.

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tl:dr; General announcement of meeting tomorrow, check out this document we’ll talk about beforehand if possible.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s SustainOSS Academic Working Group.

Topic: What do we talk about when we talk about open source software in academia?

Time: October 26th, 12:00pm ET

Link: Launch Meeting - Zoom

More links are in the calendar invite. Let me know if you would like to be added to the main event on the SustainOSS Google Calendar.


I have written up a document that outlines various themes that answer the question of “What do we talk about when we talk about open source software in academia?” These can be thought of as areas where open source and academia meet. It’s not a complete document. During this call, I want to:

  • Introduce the document to you, and explain the context behind it

  • Co-write content together on systemic risks that are involved with each section. Note the highlighted bit as an example of what this would look like.

  • Judge interest in submitting this to the RFI from the US government on open source sustainability, due November 8th. This would be a great opportunity for us to submit a document that we can individually sign off on through Sustain.

Last time, we introduced the SustainOSS Academic map. Thank you to those of you who have contributed - if others would like to, you can either through the GitHub or by emailing me content directly.

All are welcome, tomorrow. Invite colleagues if you can!

Hey all,

Our next meeting is on Thursday, November 30th, at the usual time of 12:00pm ET.

This time, we’ll work on how to answer the following questions posed by an academic researcher:

  • If I only have ten minutes to spare, how can I make my project more sustainable?

  • If I have an hour, what can I do?

  • If I have ten hours, what then?

  • If I have a significant timeline and community buy-in, what then?

This is only one small aspect of academic open source work, but it’s a recurring question that I’ve heard from participants from the last two meetings. I’ve been asking members what they would like to talk about regarding the sustainability of academic open source – if you have more ideas, let me know!

Meeting details:

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 889 0720 5947 Passcode: 792060

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Meeting ID: 889 0720 5947 Passcode: 792060

Find your local number: Zoom International Dial-in Numbers - Zoom

Looking forward to seeing you there. :slight_smile:

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The more scientific method is to make an anonymous poll and publish the dataset.

It will be interesting to prove if there is bias in self reporting. My hypothesis is that people are unwilling to report financial problems to be able to support their projects. In the end it is Open Source - I use and publish it, because I don’t like to be forced to pay.

A poll would be out of scope at this time for the academic working group, I think. I’m interested in hearing what the people who show up would like to work on, and asking some of them directly seemed the easiest way for me to do it. There haven’t been a large amount of open source maintainers with specific projects who have shown up at the recent meetings – instead, it’s largely been people in academic open source support roles.

Hi, super interesting topic for us at Open-Source Science (OSSci). I may not be able to join today, look forward to any notes. Thanks!

We’ll share them!

My zoom link appears to be down. There’s a new one here, in the notes. SustainOSS Academic WG Notes and Agenda - Google Docs


Hey all - this is a reminder the next Sustain Academia working group meeting is today, at 12:00pm ET. We’ll be talking with Arfon Smith about the Journal of Open Source Software, and how we can make it and the ecosystem of publishing OSS code more sustainable. I’ve set up an Eventbrite you can sign up for, here: SustainOSS Academic WG: The Sustainability of JOSS Tickets, Thu, Jan 25, 2024 at 12:00 PM | Eventbrite.

See you soon, I hope!

Here’s a Zoom link: Launch Meeting - Zoom.

Here are the last couple of videos!

Hope these are useful! If anyone wants a different format for saving these, let me know.

Thanks for notes and past news! Just realized some academic folks might be interested in this attempt to define “Software Commons” as the FSL/BUSL license model.

I was mentally celebrating that some of us got them to use neither the word “open” nor the word “source” in their marketing definition, but totally spaced on their definition of “Commons” as “will eventually be a potential commons, but is commercially controlled for now”.

It is interesting! And I have been following it. I wonder - does this appeal to academics working on open source, or to academic practitioners of open source? If the latter, I think there might be some more work to be done finessing how this applies to them.

Or, put another way: What open source tools used in academia need different licenses and considerations that the normal OSI-approved licenses aren’t suitable for? What would those licenses be like?

I’d be happy to talk about this in the next call, but we’d need someone who knows the area inside and out to come and at least present on this. What do you think, Shane?