Supporting OSS communities in the public sector

OSOR Guidelines for Sustainable Open Source Communities in the Public Sector

Published on: 18/11/2020
Last update: 19/11/2020

The OSOR team is thrilled to announce that the Guidelines for Sustainable Open Source Communities in the Public Sector have been published!

The Guidelines offer practical tips for civil servants at all administrative levels, project managers, IT developers, and open source software (OSS) enthusiasts looking to engage with OSS or for anyone who is simply curious about what such an endeavour might entail.

The work on the Guidelines started with the observation that, while the number of open source projects  in the European public sector is constantly growing, a lot of communities built around these projects struggle to sustain themselves. The Analysis of success factors of sustainable OSS communities in public sector  and five case studies on the sustainable communities revealed five key elements that determine OSS community sustainability:  clear governance structure, community vibrancy, software technological maturity, adoption incentives, and sustainable funding. The Guidelines’ aim is to show how to employ these factors successfully when the public sector engages in open source.  

The Guidelines are based on the belief that public administrations should not merely reuse OSS (i.e. be consumers) but rather be active members and contributors to the communities that exist around this software. Therefore, the Guidelines are divided into three key chapters exploring how public administrations could engage with OSS sustainably:

  1. Setting the foundation for sustainable open source engagements – detailing the steps that public administrations looking to engage with OSS should take, ranging from assessing their needs and capabilities to securing funding.
  2. Joining an existing community – providing tips on how to join an existing OSS community, reuse its software, and give back to the community in a sustainable way.
  3. Building your own public sector OSS community – breaking down the key questions that need to be answered to build a sustainable OSS public sector community.

The open source community was frequently consulted throughout the development of the Guidelines to make sure that the final result is not only based on thorough research but is also truly community-driven. The OSOR team would like to extend a warm thank you to all those who have contributed to creating the Guidelines, whether you have taken part in our survey, contributed to developing the case studies, participated in one of our events, or shared written feedback on the draft.

We would like to hear about your experience with implementing the Guidelines, and we welcome your feedback as we will be working on expanding and improving them.  Please get in touch at EU-OSOR@ec.europa.eu.

 

Guidelines for Sustainable Open Source Communities in the Public Sector

Analysis of success factors of sustainable OSS communities in public sector

Sustainability case studies - OSOR Knowledge Centre

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