Lorena A. Barba group

Open Source Software Policy Options for NASA Earth and Space Sciences

report cover

Prof. Barba is a co-author of the National Academies study report "Open Source Software Policy Options for NASA Earth and Space Sciences," presented to NASA on Sept. 21, 2018. The report is outcome from several in-person meetings, dozens of submitted white papers, and months of collaborative writing. The set of recommendations issued by the committee are summarized in one simple slogan:

As open as possible, as closed as necessary.

Description

Modern science is ever more driven by computations and simulations. In particular, the state of the art in space and Earth science often arises from complex simulations of climate, space weather, and astronomical phenomena. At the same time, scientific work requires data processing, presentation, and analysis through broadly available proprietary and community software.1 Implicitly or explicitly, software is central to science. Scientific discovery, understanding, validation, and interpretation are all enhanced by access to the source code of the software used by scientists.

This report investigates and recommends options for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) as it considers how to establish a policy regarding open source software to complement its existing policy on open data. In particular, the report reviews existing data and software policies and the lessons learned from the implementation of those policies, summarizes community perspectives, and presents policy options and recommendations for implementing an open source software policy for NASA SMD.

Citation