Lorena A. Barba group

Dr. Lorena Barba to lead new Open Source Program Office at The George Washington University

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Professor Barba will be Faculty Director of GW's newly established Open Source Program Office (OSPO). The OSPO, funded by a two-year grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, will coordinate and support open source software efforts across GW.

An Open Source Program Office is an organizational structure used to coordinate and manage open source software strategy, policies, and activities. OSPOs first emerged within tech companies like Google, but more recently universities have begun establishing them as well, with support from organizations like the Sloan Foundation. As open source software, open data, and open science gain momentum in academia, OSPOs help institutions optimize their use of open source tools, comply with open data policies, train students in open source development, and foster a culture of open collaboration and knowledge sharing aligned with their research and education missions. The OSPO model provides schools with a centralized office to consolidate various open source efforts into a cohesive, impactful program.

Dr. Barba brings over a decade of experience engaging with open source software in academia. She has served on the Board of Directors for NumFOCUS, a nonprofit supporting open source scientific computing tools, from 2014-2021. In this role she provided strategic guidance as NumFOCUS grew in size and impact in the open source world, and contributed both fiscal and mission stewardship.

A leader in open science and open education, Dr. Barba was a founding editor of The Journal of Open Source Software in 2016 and served as Associate Editor-in-Chief through 2021. She is also Editor-in-Chief of the sibling publication The Journal of Open Source Education, which she founded in 2018. Her work has earned recognitions including the Leamer-Rosenthal Open Social Science Award in 2016 and being named Jupyter Distinguished Contributor in 2020.

"I've been involved with open source software for many years through my research, teaching, and advocacy efforts," says Dr. Barba. "I'm thrilled to now have the opportunity to spearhead GW's open source strategy and culture as Faculty Director of the OSPO."

Dr. Barba has delivered keynote addresses on open research and education at major conferences worldwide. She is an internationally recognized expert on increasing transparency and reproducibility in research through open source tools and practices.

At GW, Dr. Barba will collaborate closely with Dr. Geneva Henry, Dean of GW Libraries and Academic Innovation, to build open source capacity across the university through strategic programs and initiatives.

"Open source has tremendous benefits for advancing research and enriching education," explains Dr. Barba. "With the OSPO, we aim to make GW a leader in open scholarship by creating an ecosystem where open source is an integral part of our community's DNA."

The OSPO will offer training, infrastructure, events, and other resources to help GW students and researchers take full advantage of open source software. It will also work to align university policies and culture with the open ethos. As Faculty Director, Dr. Barba will lend her substantial expertise and passion for open source to ensuring the OSPO's success.

The ALFRED P. SLOAN FOUNDATION is a not-for-profit, mission-driven grantmaking institution dedicated to improving the welfare of all through the advancement of scientific knowledge. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-President and Chief Executive Officer of the General Motors Corporation, the Foundation makes grants in four broad areas: direct support of research in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economics; initiatives to increase the quality, equity, diversity, and inclusiveness of scientific institutions and the science workforce; projects to develop or leverage technology to empower research; and efforts to enhance and deepen public engagement with science and scientists. sloan.org | @SloanFoundation