Leaders in ‘all things open’ assemble for summit to explore opportunities in open work

RIT hosts Open Work in Academia Summit Sept. 7-9 in Rochester, N.Y.

RIT’s open source programs office, Open@RIT, is hosting the Open Work in Academia Summit Sept. 7-9.

Experts from across academia, industry, government, and foundations will come together in September to compare, contrast, and cross-pollinate best practices for promoting and rewarding open work—including open source software, open data, open hardware, open educational resources, open science, Creative Commons licensed work, and open research.

The Open Work in Academia Summit will be held Sept. 7-9 at the Hyatt Regency Rochester, in downtown Rochester, N.Y. The event is hosted by Rochester Institute of Technology’s open source programs office Open@RIT.

The summit will give attendees the opportunity to listen to panels of experts in the field and meet in working groups. Organizers aim for attendees to learn from each other and find a basis to work together on making it easier to do this kind of open work.

“Having worked with the open source community for the last 14 years and beginning to work in the open science and scholarship fields in the last two, I noticed that both industry and academia were unaware that they were having similar conversations about problems in open work,” said Stephen Jacobs, director of Open@RIT and professor of interactive games and media. “The summit is about getting everybody to come together to talk about those overlaps and explore the opportunities and challenges brought on by this greater emphasis on open work.”

The two-and-a-half day summit will include 33 speakers exploring several topics, including:

  • Measures of value, impact, and translation of open work
  • Policies around support and promotion for success in open work
  • Building, sustaining, and promoting open communities and ecosystems
  • Managing information overload and ferment in the field
  • Existing practices and resources provided by academia to support open scholarship and industry

The first day will feature panel discussions from experts. During the second and third days, attendees will break out into group discussions and report back on those sessions. The second day will include a live webcast on the Future Trends Forum—an ongoing, participatory, and open video conversation about the future of higher education.

Silona Bonewald, an expert with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) open source development platform, is one of the many speakers who will discuss how different organizations work and collaborate today.

“I’m really looking forward to the summit because I can’t wait to meet everyone in person,” said Bonewald, executive director of IEEE SA (Standards Association) Open. “Open@RIT has been stellar to collaborate with and I can’t wait to tell everyone all the things I have learned working with them.”

The summit will also include evening receptions at The Strong National Museum of Play on Sept. 7 and at RIT’s Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction, and Creativity (MAGIC) on Sept. 8.

Open work is non-proprietary—meaning it’s licensed to be publicly accessible and anyone can modify or share, within the terms of the license. While the original term “open source” came out of the software industry, its philosophy and practices of lowering the bars to collaboration have since become a set of values that has applications in everything from science to media.

In 2020, RIT established the open source programs office, Open@RIT, to support and grow all kinds of “open work” at the university, which can lead to more collaboration, creation, and contribution, on and off campus. The summit comes at a time when different organizations, including the National Institutes of Health and the European Union, are developing policies and offices to support open work.

“Often the important work done in community management, in documentation, and in other forms of support doesn’t follow traditional norms within industry,” said Jacobs. “Successfully working in the open field requires institutional culture changes and employee training or retraining.”

Registration is limited to 100 people. To register for the summit, go to the Open Work in Academia Summit website.

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