Advocacy material for "going open source"?

Paul Boddie paul at
Mon Jan 5 18:26:05 UTC 2015

On Tuesday 30. December 2014 21.30.56 Torsten Bronger wrote:
> I work in a government-funded research facility.  Over the past 6
> years, we created in-house software for managing our research data.
> I was the primary responsible person for this project.  Now, I'd
> like to see it being converted into an open-source project.  GPL,
> GitHub, etc.
> My boss does not rule it out straight away.  But he likes to be
> convinced that it is a good move.  He has only little idea about
> open-source software, licences and the like.  By the way, we have no
> other "business plan" with this software.
> My question is: Is there any material (slides, web pages, books,
> case studies, peer-reviewed articles) that help with promoting
> converting to an open-source model?  Could you point me to it?

I know that there are potentially many ways of managing research data, and 
there's a lot of activity in the field, but have you considered looking at 
materials the Galaxy project have made available and/or asking them about 
their motivations for making their software available as Free Software?

I have had only limited contact with the people concerned, mostly through 
helping others get some customisation done, and my impression is that much of 
the material about Galaxy is either tutorial-oriented or academic, with the 
usual focus on getting cited by academic publications:

So, in the "primary publications", you won't necessarily find much advocacy 
about Free Software despite the supposed emphasis on reproducible science and 
accessible tools. My personal experience from the biological sciences is that 
people will (1) use tools that happen to be available now without any thought 
to their continued availability, (2) conflate over-the-Web access with genuine 
availability of the software, and (3) dissuade people from installing systems 
themselves even if the software is freely available because of support issues 
(and underestimating the capabilities of users).

But if you ask the Galaxy people, maybe there is a document somewhere 
explicitly giving their rationale for the Free Software availability of the 
framework. Certainly, there should be people who can advocate such things 
given that they will have deployed the software themselves, and they might 
also be able to provide resources about their own deployments and 
customisations, along with thoughts on how this can only really be done by 
building on a Free Software foundation.

And reproducibility is a strong argument for Free Software availability, even 
if readers sometimes have to connect the two concepts themselves:


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