Today we proudly announce the initiation of ORCID’s open source project!
One of the core principles of ORCID is that all software we develop will be publicly released under an open source software license approved by the Open Source Initiative. In addition to transparency, releasing our code will improve interoperability and integration with external services, lead to more robust code because more individuals are auditing and testing it, and, with an extended developer community, enable faster code iteration and evolution.
For ORCID to achieve these goals, we must couple code availability with active community engagement. Here we outline the process we are using to make the code available, provide collaboration tools, and support an open-source community.
Where we are Today
The ORCID code base is derived from ResearcherID code. Thomson Reuters has made this code available to ORCID under a perpetual license with royalty free use, which permits ORCID to make the ORCID code available to the public under open source standards. We are releasing the ORCID code under an MIT-style license. One of the first steps to releasing the code was to address dependencies. We separated the code into projects that segregate branding, licensing, and security components. In addition, we audited the code to ensure that no high-risk omissions exist, including a review of sub-licensed code and package compatibility. We have “in-sourced” the code so that we can build and deploy code independently. This “in-sourcing” work benefits the ORCID team and also enables others to effectively build and use the code in an open source environment.
We continue to build documentation for external developers, including stubs to which the community can contribute. We have implemented tools for our user community to contribute ideas and identify challenges, and we are establishing developer-specific tools integral to supporting collaboration, feedback, and contributions, starting with comprehensive GitHub Readme files describing the code and its workings, mechanisms for bug reporting and contributions, and forums for developer discussion.
ORCID has a vibrant and engaged community. The ORCID iDeas Forum and support desk have received ideas, issues, and advice from many hundreds of ORCID users and interested parties. In addition, members of the community have volunteered their time to participate on technical working groups, and individuals and representatives from repositories, small non-profit publishers, scientific databases, and academia have offered coding and specification assistance.
Our focus now is on extending this engagement as we introduce ORCID’s open source code. We see this extension happening in phases, first through bug reporting, contributions to code description, and use documentation. Then, as we make an open development infrastructure available, we anticipate participation can develop into patch submission. We will also be encouraging code contributions through special CodeFest events and other activities.