National Academies Press: OpenBook
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Open Source Software Policy Options for NASA Earth and Space Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25217.
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Open Source Software
Policy Options for NASA Earth
and Space Sciences

Committee on Best Practices for a
Future Open Code Policy for NASA Space Science

Space Studies Board

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

A Consensus Study Report of

images

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, DC
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Open Source Software Policy Options for NASA Earth and Space Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25217.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001

This activity was supported by Contract No. NNH17CB02B with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.

Cover: Design by Jonathan Lutz, Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Intern, Space Studies Board.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-48271-4
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-48271-2
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/25217

Additional copies of this publication are available for sale from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu.

Copyright 2018 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Open Source Software Policy Options for NASA Earth and Space Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25217.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Open Source Software Policy Options for NASA Earth and Space Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25217.
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The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president.

The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president.

The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine.

Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.nationalacademies.org.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Open Source Software Policy Options for NASA Earth and Space Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25217.
×

Image

Consensus Study Reports published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine document the evidence-based consensus on the study’s statement of task by an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and the committee’s deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task.

Proceedings published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine chronicle the presentations and discussions at a workshop, symposium, or other event convened by the National Academies. The statements and opinions contained in proceedings are those of the participants and are not endorsed by other participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies.

For information about other products and activities of the National Academies, please visit www.nationalacademies.org/about/whatwedo.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Open Source Software Policy Options for NASA Earth and Space Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25217.
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COMMITTEE ON BEST PRACTICES FOR A FUTURE OPEN CODE POLICY FOR NASA SPACE SCIENCE

CHELLE L. GENTEMANN, Earth and Space Research, Co-Chair

MARK A. PARSONS, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Co-Chair

LORENA A. BARBA, George Washington University

KELLE L. CRUZ, City University of New York Hunter College

BRENDA J. DIETRICH, NAE,1 Cornell University

CHRISTOPHER L. FRYER, Los Alamos National Laboratory

JOE GIACALONE, University of Arizona

SARA J. GRAVES, University of Alabama, Huntsville

JOSEPH HARRINGTON, University of Central Florida

ELVA J. JONES, Winston-Salem State University

MARIA M. KUZNETSOVA, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

CLIFFORD A. LYNCH, Coalition for Networked Information

MELISSA A. McGRATH, SETI Institute

AARON RIDLEY, University of Michigan

Staff

ABIGAIL A. SHEFFER, Senior Program Officer, Study Director

NATHAN J. BOLL, Associate Program Officer

ANESIA WILKS, Senior Program Assistant

CARSON BULLOCK, Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Intern

JONATHAN LUTZ, Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Intern

JACOB ROBERTSON, Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Intern

__________________

1 Member, National Academy of Engineering.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Open Source Software Policy Options for NASA Earth and Space Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25217.
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SPACE STUDIES BOARD

FIONA HARRISON, NAS,1 California Institute of Technology, Chair

JAMES H. CROCKER, NAE,2 Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company (retired), Vice Chair

GREGORY P. ASNER, NAS, Carnegie Institution for Science

JEFF M. BINGHAM, Consultant

ADAM S. BURROWS, NAS, Princeton University

MARY LYNNE DITTMAR, Dittmar Associates, Inc.

JEFF DOZIER, University of California, Santa Barbara

JOSEPH FULLER, JR., Futron Corporation

SARAH GIBSON, National Center for Atmospheric Research

VICTORIA E. HAMILTON, Southwest Research Institute

CHRYSSA KOUVELIOTOU, NAS, The George Washington University

DENNIS P. LETTENMAIER, NAE, University of California, Los Angeles

ROSALY M. LOPES, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

STEPHEN J. MACKWELL, Universities Space Research Association

DAVID J. McCOMAS, Princeton University

LARRY PAXTON, Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory

ELIOT QUATAERT, University of California, Berkeley

BARBARA SHERWOOD LOLLAR, University of Toronto

HARLAN E. SPENCE, University of New Hampshire

MARK THIEMENS, NAS, University of California, San Diego

ERIKA WAGNER, Blue Origin

PAUL WOOSTER, Space Exploration Technologies

EDWARD L. WRIGHT, NAS, University of California, Los Angeles

Staff

COLLEEN HARTMAN, Director (after August 6, 2018)

MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Director (until March 2, 2018)

RICHARD ROWBERG, Interim Director (March 2, 2018 to August 6, 2018)

CARMELA J. CHAMBERLAIN, Administrative Coordinator (until June 30, 2018)

TANJA PILZAK, Manager, Program Operations

CELESTE A. NAYLOR, Information Management Associate

MARGARET A. KNEMEYER, Financial Officer

__________________

1 Member, National Academy of Sciences.

2 Member, National Academy of Engineering.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Open Source Software Policy Options for NASA Earth and Space Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25217.
×

Preface

The Committee on Best Practices for a Future Open Code Policy for NASA Space Science of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine was charged to investigate and recommend best practices for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as it considers whether to establish an open code and open models policy, complementary to its current open data policy. The committee’s complete statement of task is reprinted in Appendix A.

To address its task, the committee worked with a lawyer who specializes in open source software licensing and intellectual property rights as an unpaid consultant, held three in-person meetings and many teleconferences during its work from October 2017 through August 2018, and solicited community input via white papers and presentations. The meetings included extensive conversations with NASA leadership from diverse areas within the organization, including the Science Mission Directorate (SMD), the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS), and the Office of the General Counsel (OGC), as well as with policymakers from other government agencies. The committee also received presentations from a broad range of stakeholders, including researchers across the SMD disciplinary communities, leading experts in computer science and open source architectures, representatives from academic journals and publishing organizations, and the lead author of a concurrent National Academies advisory report on open science. The committee’s broad call for white papers was primarily targeted at the SMD disciplinary communities but was open to anyone who wanted to provide input to the study process. The white paper call and listing of received papers is reprinted in Appendix C.

The committee was careful to remain within the scope of its task by defining the complex issues and policy options that NASA will need to consider when deciding to implement a future open code policy, while avoiding any recommendations as to whether or not NASA should implement such a policy. Chapter 1 of this report describes the motivation, goals, and processes undertaken during the study. Chapter 2 provides fundamental background materials, such as the definitions of common terminology, references to relevant legal statutes, and information about open source software as a licensing model and as a development model. Chapter 3 describes the past and current states of software and data management policies at NASA and other related government institutions. Chapter 4 delineates the lessons learned from prior experience with open source software, aggregated from community input. Chapter 5 presents a series of policy options identified by the committee that reflect the choices NASA will need to make in balancing the competing needs of stakeholders while meeting a variety of legal obligations, often conflicting, summed up in the maxim, “as open as possible, as closed as necessary.” Chapter 6 presents a summary discussion.

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Open Source Software Policy Options for NASA Earth and Space Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25217.
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The committee would like to thank the many generous individuals at NASA and other U.S. government agencies and within the greater scientific community who contributed to the study process through presentations, written input, and discussions. A special thanks goes to the staff of the Space Studies Board—Abigail Sheffer, Nathan Boll, Anesia Wilks, Richard Rowberg (interim director), and former director Michael Moloney. Finally, the committee would like to acknowledge and thank Diane Peters, general counsel at Creative Commons, for the invaluable legal insight and expertise she provided throughout this study.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Open Source Software Policy Options for NASA Earth and Space Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25217.
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Acknowledgment of Reviewers

This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.

We thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Robert F. Sproull, NAE,2 University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.

__________________

1 Member, National Academy of Sciences.

2 Member, National Academy of Engineering.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Open Source Software Policy Options for NASA Earth and Space Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25217.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Open Source Software Policy Options for NASA Earth and Space Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25217.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Open Source Software Policy Options for NASA Earth and Space Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25217.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Open Source Software Policy Options for NASA Earth and Space Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25217.
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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.

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