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DuraSpace Openness Policy

We believe that the tools needed to preserve the world’s cultural heritage and academic record are most effectively created and maintained through a community-supported open source software development process. The community that supports this work is most often comprised of not-for-profit libraries, museums, archives, and research organizations. We promote and champion traditional open source principles such as those practiced by the Apache Software Foundation ( They are modified to accommodate and leverage the organizational dynamics and business interests of the mission-aligned communities that create and sustain the software.These practices have resulted in successful community-led software development projects over the past two decades. Organizations participating in these projects contribute to their growth financially and with the in-kind effort of developers, managers, designers, technical writers, trainers, etc.

These values and practices are important to the health and sustainability of the open source projects:

  • Community participation is built on trust, a by-product of the openness, transparency, and collaboration embodied in our projects.

  • Software development is, for the most part*, provided through in-kind, employer-supported contributions--the efforts of developers motivated by the opportunity to make a significant contribution to a project, enhancing one’s skills, and career opportunities in the process. The values described below, e.g., openness, inclusiveness, consensus-based decision-making, collaboration, transparency, and sustained contribution make this possible and encourage broad participation. Organizational stakeholders are more prone to volunteer funds and in-kind resources when they are confident that other stakeholders are acting on behalf of the community. They are assured when stewardship of the projects is provided by an organization that is impartial, fair, and egalitarian.

  • As we grow the user base in new regions, it benefits our projects to be aligned with institutional and governmental practices.Future growth of the DuraSpace projects will largely be in regions outside of the United States. Stakeholders from these countries have expressed the importance of more orthodox open source values and practices in determining their interest in participating and investing in the projects. In many countries and at many institutions, official policies require that software be acquired from projects following traditional open source practices. As we grow the user base in new regions, it benefits our projects to be aligned with institutional and governmental practices.

  • Funding projects primarily through membership ensures that project influence remains with the community and this promotes adoption. Of course, grants and commercial sponsorships are welcome to supplement these resources.

The following is a more in-depth list of DuraSpace values and the way they contribute to strengthening our community-supported open source projects and hosted services.




  • A strong sense of community and collaboration--the notion that “we’re all in this together” -- are critical success factors

    • It is understood that project participants act in the interests of the community as well as their own institutional interests.

    • Actors in the community seek collaborators for most activities. Partners pitch in to get the job done.

  • Inclusiveness. The more talented, diverse contributors to a project there are, the greater the impact, quality, and sustainability. Therefore,

    • We strive to include as many stakeholders as possible in the development and governance processes.

    • Global participation. We go out of our way to accommodate differences in time zones and languages.

    • We actively encourage broad, diverse input.

  • Governance is in the hands of the people who contribute the most to the projects  

    • Institutions contributing financially to project sustainability are eligible for membership and governance privileges.

    • Institutions contributing in-kind developer effort, as well as other critical skills--under the direction of the project team--may be eligible to play a role in project governance as well.

    • Members and contributors have influence commensurate with their contributions.

  • Decision-making is consensus-based or by standard voting conventions

    • Apache rules for developers. Committers use Apache Software Foundation conventions for voting and decision making related to technical issues and choices. This is well-documented, time-tested practice and immediately creates a known environment that encourages participation by new committers

    • Technical choices that have strategic product/market implications are the domain of the project’s Steering and/or Leadership groups. Developers play a consulting role on these issues and may make recommendations. Votes taken by governance groups are based on a majority rule.

  • Openness. Access to information and community resources is a basic expectation for an open source community.  

    • Source code, documentation, discussion lists, open meeting notes, training materials, and other project artifacts are freely available to all.

    • We respect that confidential or highly sensitive information should be privacy protected.

    • Individuals and institutions share project information with each other by default.

  • Transparency promotes trust, and so it is practiced at all levels of governance, management, and software development.

    • Meetings and discussions are documented with notes posted online.

    • Important discussions are documented in searchable archives (email, group lists, wiki). Phone calls and in-person meetings alone are not adequate because our communities are widely distributed, and 100% attendance can almost never be guaranteed. We strive to ensure that all stakeholders remain “in the loop”.

  • Recognized, OSI-approved, permissive open source licenses that are “commercial-friendly” dictate the use and distribution of all our software. Documentation, training, and other non-software assets are shared via Creative Commons “copyleft” licensing.

    • Project software is distributed under permissive licenses recognized by the Open Source Initiative (, with a bias towards Apache 2 or BSD. These licenses are used because their permissiveness increases adoption by institutional and commercial entities.

    • Individual and Corporate Contributor License Agreements (CLAs) are encouraged to identify the terms under which intellectual property has been contributed to a project and to easily resolve any copyright disputes. The clarity provided by assertions made in CLAs increases confidence in the software.

  • Sustained, in-kind contribution is highly valued. Software contributions are accepted by a group of peers for their intrinsic value. Financial contributions from stakeholders are also key to funding dedicated project management and support services.

  • Project autonomy empowers stakeholders at all levels.

    • Projects are self-governing and determine their own strategic direction.

    • Project revenues are restricted for use by the project; accounting and financial reporting is done at the project level.

    • Discretionary spending is approved by project governing groups.

    • Projects are free to leave DuraSpace for an alternative home if desired, along with intellectual property and revenues that remain after expenses are paid.

  • Projects are “commercial friendly”. We value supportive contributions of money and effort from the commercial sector.

    • DuraSpace and its projects partner with for-profit organizations that contribute to the sustainability of the projects and our organization.

    • DuraSpace maintains a Registered Service Provider (RSP) program that refers users to qualified service providers; in return, RSPs contribute a percent of their revenues back to the project. Many users of our open source software want commercial companies to help implement, maintain, or support their applications, and they want choices when they look for help. The RSP program is one in which all participants benefit.

    • At the same time, projects resist excessive influence by commercial entities in decision-making and direction by establishing self-protective policies.




  • Open source.  Services are based on open source software products. Users of hosted services that facilitate access to and preservation of content have the assurance that they are not locked into proprietary solutions.

  • Users of hosted services own their data.

    • We make their data available to them at all times and available for download after the use of the service is complete.

    • We observe ownership and copyright protection of data stored in hosted services.

    • We assist users who want to terminate their service in capturing their data/metadata by exporting it out of the hosted environment in an openly accessible format

  • Hosted services may be in a position to support the open source projects.  When service revenue exceeds the costs of providing the individual service, part of the surplus may be used to contribute resources back to the open source project.  Just as we expect Registered Service Providers to contribute a percentage of their revenue back to the open source projects, we aspire to “practice what we preach” by doing the same





* Most of our open source projects do receive seed-funding in the form of grants. Once the projects are underway, however, they transition to community-supported, in-kind development.  Likewise, at key points in a project’s lifecycle, additional short-term funding is useful in helping to reach significant, labor intensive milestones.