Summit Recap and Resources

Event Overview


Open@RIT hosted the Summit around the state of Open Work and its future. More than 60 people from US, Spain, France, England, and Ireland participated in the event with attendees representing higher education, philanthropic entities, businesses, governments and ministries, and academic publishing:

Represented Entities

  • Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services
  • Ministry of Higher Ed and Research, France
  • Ministry of Higher Ed, UK
  • Berkeley Institute for Data Science
  • Code for Science and Society
  • Open Source Collective
  • University of Missouri
  • University of Vermont
  • Michigan State University
  • Invest in Open Infrastructure
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • Bryan Alexander, Inc
  • The Open University UK
  • Chan Zuckerberg
  • USC
  • UC Santa Cruz
  • UC Berkeley
  • Linux Foundation
  • Simple Secure
  • Red Hat Inc
  • Taylor and Francis
  • Trinity College Dublin
  • SUNY Polytechnic
  • TODO Group
  • CHAOSS Project
  • ORFG
  • Open@RIT
  • Amazon
  • Google
  • Cisco
  • Dryad
  • IEEE
  • MIT
  • OpenUK
  • RIT
  • MSU
  • NASA
  • AWS
  • F1000
  • NumFOCUS

Keynotes, presentations, and primary topics of discussion

Breakout Sessions


Based on the feedback we received from the post-event survey, these were the most beneficial segments of the summit, which then developed into working groups.


Different Models for Open Work Policies, Practices, and Support in Universities

The goal of this working group was to understand better what are the current ways that university administration can support Open Work and generate some new ideas on how we can better advocate for the implementation of pro-open university policies, practices, and support.

Watch video: What are different models for Open Work Policy, Practices and Support in Universities?

What's Next?

Fostering a Better Understanding of Promotion

  • Identify high-rank faculty and universities recently promoted to professors - What was their citation count? (imperfect) 
  • Faculty are doing very narrow fields, which leads to so few people can review, making it hard for the school to review.
  • Promotion pathways (as at MSU) can include narratives that articulate holistic scholarship strategies and are not just a matter of metrics.

Address Contradictions in University Policy

  • Tension exists between proprietary and community goals.  Presidents and trustees, and many faculty, have promoted entrepreneurship and turned inventions and creations into property that can be monetized.  

Explore New Ways to Organize Ourselves

  • Moving away from scientific societies (publisher); data repositories need work, money, staff, and power, so people who submit data know the standards. ~ this can become the new standard across 
  • Universities are not currently equipped to maintain products, for example, U of R, during the start of Covid-19 building a screening app.

Surfacing the “invisible” metrics and analytics for role diversity within Open projects

Both FOSS Communities and Academia are challenged in measuring documenting and supporting work in spaces like community management, design, documentation, and the impact those have on supporting the work of the enterprise and returning the value on investment, proving increased productivity, etc. They also do a poor job of showing how Role diversity, the efforts of those folks who do the work described above, improve work output and its impact.  How are we thinking about these things in both sectors? How can we do a better job of it overall?

Tips for diversity:

  • Tokenism: It can’t be just inviting “diverse” participants
  • Fundamental flaws: It’s hard to tell a maintainer that their baby is ugly
  • There are multiple factors that represent a group. A single concrete number often cannot be representative of a group. We have to show a spectrum of the consistency of a group.
  • Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion often means different things to different people. We need a definition to drive our efforts to fix these issues
  • We also need to address systems of oppression and tearing down barriers that are preventing these barriers.

What’s next?

  • Find ways to share stories of underrepresented folks succeeding in open source
  • Safety criteria: What marginalized people use to identify whether a community is “safe” for participating. Perhaps a metric model around a clear goal that metrics would help define.

OSPOs in Academia. What could they do?

Four themes of an Academic OSPO

  • Understand the stakeholders, their interests, and their need for education on Open
  • Educate both academics and students
  • Enable involvement in open work — supporting grant-funded programs. Connect stakeholders with resources
  • Empower - Identify networking for opportunities for collaboration. An ongoing concerted effort on the above. 

Watch video: OSPOs in Academia: What do they do? What could they do?

Our Open Community Going Forward


Survey results suggest that attendees are interested in regular asynchronous meetings (2-4 times per year) with in-person gatherings annually. The annual gathering could be stand-alone or pre/colocated/post another event.

There is a significant desire for ongoing community-building, networking, and group-think opportunities. The purpose is an ongoing conversation through BOF meetings, unconferences, and an online forum for presentation and discussion groups.