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UT Launches Open Source Software Office To Support Researchers

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AUSTIN, Texas — Open source code development has changed the face of science. It allows researchers to make publicly funded scientific research transparent, inclusive, accessible and reproducible.

To maximize the social and economic impact of open source software in research and education, The University of Texas at Austin has launched the Open Source Program Office, a central hub for open source activity, connection, training and support to enable open source practices as a key part of the University.

With financial support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the project is led by experts from the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), central IT services, University of Texas Libraries, and the School of Information to form an umbrella organization that is more than the sum of its parts.

“We’re pleased to have this support from Sloan to bring together the efforts at UT Austin to help preserve research software and to make it more accessible and reproducible to the broader community,” said Jennifer Schopf, director of network partnerships at TACC and the principal investigator of the new grant. “This seed funding will allow us to create the overarching structure to ensure that UT faculty, staff and students have the tools needed to best use open source software and coordinate the interdisciplinary efforts we have.”

The new collaboration will allow the University to leverage and formalize the preexisting infrastructure on campus, unify and expand the work already being done in this space, create additional opportunities for engagement among faculty members and students, and foster interdisciplinary connections across departments and units.

“What’s so compelling about this project is how broad and participatory the underlying vision is,” said Joshua M. Greenberg, program director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “When it comes to support for open source at UT, all the key institutional players are at the table to shape a shared vision.”

A portion of the grant will provide supplementary funding for experts at the University of Texas Libraries by providing open source research software consultation services and developing resources to help researchers with open source software best practices.

The office will provide support across campus through joint training, personalized consultations, lecture series, a help desk network, publishing of best practices, and events that help students, faculty and staff engage with open source software.

Angela Newell of IT Services, Michael Shensky of UT Libraries and James Howison of the School of Information are co-principal investigators on the new grant.

Learn more at opensource.utexas.edu.