National Academies Press: OpenBook

Open Source Software Policy Options for NASA Earth and Space Sciences (2018)

Chapter: Appendix A: Statement of Task

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." 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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A

Statement of Task

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will establish an ad hoc committee to investigate and recommend best practices for NASA as it considers whether to establish an open code and open models policy, complementary to its current open data policy. In carrying out the study the committee will:

  • Review and describe examples of code/modeling policies developed by research teams and communities in the NASA-supported disciplines of Earth Science and Applications from Space, the Space Sciences, and other research communities, as appropriate;
  • Develop a set of lessons learned from these established approaches paying particular attention to issues such as, but not limited to, proprietary, export control, code/model maintenance, and documentation considerations;
  • Define and describe options for policies on open codes and open models for research supported by NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and assess the pros and cons of these options from the perspective of the research community and the interests of NASA; and
  • Recommend a set of best practices for NASA to consider should SMD decide to adopt an open code/open model policy for research supported by the agency. The committee may also choose to present alternate sets of best practices rather than just one recommended set.
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." 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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Page 79
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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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