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Making ILRI code open: Software as an International Public Good

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Presented by Alan Orth at the ILRI Open Access Week Workshop, ILRI, Nairobi, 23-25 October 2019]


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Making ILRI code open: Software as an International Public Good

  1. 1. Making ILRI code open: Software as an International Public Good Alan Orth CKM / RMG / ICT ILRI Open Access Week Workshop Nairobi, 23-25 October 2019
  2. 2. Open Source Software in a Nutshell “Open source software is software with source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance.” ― opensource.com
  3. 3. Brief Intro to Open Source Software • Analogous to open access for publications and data • “Open source” movement started in the 1970s by users who wanted to understand, validate, and fix bugs in the software running on their computers • Users began collaborating in the open to develop software and learn from each other • The Cathedral and the Bazaar published in 1999, discussed two development methodologies
  4. 4. You are probably already using open source software... Examples of Popular Open Source Software For example: R, MediaWiki (Wikipedia), WordPress, Linux, VLC, Mozilla Firefox, Android, and Chromium.
  5. 5. Values of Open Source Software • Transparency and accountability, especially for governments and publicly funded organizations • Continuity for users and communities, especially when data is stored in open data formats • Independent verification and reproduction of results • Avoid the “security by obscurity” promised by closed source software “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow” ― Eric S. Raymond, The Cathedral and the Bazaar, 1999
  6. 6. Licensing of Open Source Software • Licenses range in the permissiveness of the rights given to — or restrictions placed on — the user • Some parallels with Creative Commons licenses • Most licenses require giving credit (“attribution”) • Others require providing access to the source code under the same license as the original (“share alike”) • Unlike some Creative Commons licenses, open source licenses do not prohibit commercial activity • Popular licenses include the GPL, MIT, and BSD
  7. 7. ILRI Open Access/Open Data Implementation Plan 2015–2018 • Released in 2015, revised in 2017 • Plan on CGSpace: https://hdl.handle.net/10568/99370 • Section 3.1 recommends using GitHub as the official repository for ILRI source code • Section 4.2 recommends using the GNU Public License version 3.0 (GPLv3) Guidance for Open Source Software at ILRI
  8. 8. Open Source Software at ILRI • ILRI began using GitHub as an institutional repository for source code in 2011 • Sixty-three projects currently: https://github.com/ilri • A few highlights: • CGSpace: https://github.com/ilri/DSpace • ADGG: https://github.com/ilri/adgg_v2 • Livegene: https://github.com/ilri/livegene • CLEANED-R: https://github.com/ilri/CLEANED-R • IMPACT: https://github.com/ilri/IMPACT • GOBLET: https://github.com/ilri/GOBLET Talk to me about putting your project here!
  9. 9. Open Source Publishing Best Practices https://github.com/ilri/dspace-statistics-api
  10. 10. Open Source Publishing Best Practices • A rich “README” file with: • Explanation of what the software does • Requirements for installation and use • Sample data with tests • How to cite the software (even better if on CGSpace!) • Acknowledgement of other software your project is using • Which license the software is available under • A “LICENSE” file present in the root of the repository • A few good examples: • https://github.com/ilri/csv-metadata-quality • https://github.com/ilri/dspace-statistics-api
  11. 11. Beyond Source Code • Releasing source code is an imperative minimum • Use “social code” workflows on GitHub, like issues, pull requests, and wikis • Publicly document progress of work in blog posts, wikis, mailing lists, etc • A few examples: • CGSpace issues: https://github.com/ilri/DSpace/issues • CGSpace worklog: https://alanorth.github.io/cgspace-notes • HPC documentation: https://hpc.ilri.cgiar.org
  12. 12. Acknowledgements Peter Ballantyne for trailblazing “open” at ILRI, leading to the institutional adoption of Creative Commons licenses in 2010. Jane Poole for supporting the use of GitHub and open source software licenses in research computing since 2011.
  13. 13. This presentation is licensed for use under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence. better lives through livestock ilri.org ILRI thanks all donors and organizations which globally support its work through their contributions to the CGIAR Trust Fund

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