SPEC Kit 340: Open Source Software  · 57
BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES OF CONTRIBUTING TO OSS PROJECTS
25. Please briefly describe up to three benefits your library enjoys as a result of contributing to OSS
projects. N=44
Ability to enhance product and influence its direction. Sharing with community.
Ability to influence project outcome.
Ability to lend expertise to peer or smaller institutions. Mutual benefit from reusing working solutions.
Avoids data lock-in. While it may not be any less expensive/time consuming to migrate data out of an open source
system than a proprietary system, at least with open source there will always be the technical possibility. User
communities and developer communications tend to be better formed, enabling better DIY support, and not being
totally reliant on a single vendor. Open source values (access to and right to share information) map closely to library
values.
Becoming an active part of worthwhile communities. Helping make products we and others use better. Increase our
skills and expertise and inspire productive creativity.
Better service offerings. Alignment with institute mission. Collaboration with non-library departments and peer
institutions.
Broadens their perspective as developers, product owners, and project managers. Meets the strategic needs of the
organization to engage with the world and our communities. Helps us build better solutions with like-minded people
and institutions.
Collaborating with other institutions to address common areas of need. Involvement of library staff in intellectually
engaging and useful work. Ending up with a more sustainable product than if we had done it just on our own.
Collaboration of common tasks. Faster return on requested features. Giving back.
Community is able to benefit from our developments. Forces us to write cleaner code that is generalizable and fits with
our strategies for replaceable parts.
Contributing code helps to meet our specialized needs. We participate in a community of experts. Contributing to the
project is in accordance with the Libraries’ and university’s mission.
Contributing to the library community. Developing local expertise. Recognition.
Contributing, even in a small way, to non-commercial, inexpensive, and highly functional alternatives to expensive
commercial software that drain our budgets. Good press for the university, and for the Libraries. Providing software to
fill needs of other institutions.
Control of product design. Functionality meets our needs.
Credibility in OSS Developer community. Ability to share problems. Modeling good behavior.
Customization for our exact needs.
Enhanced quality of software through collaboration. Leveraging effort from multiple institutions. Ability to use work
from other organizations.
Ensures product remains stable and useful. Fulfill our obligation as a user of the OSS. Improved understanding of the
OSS.
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