The Open Bioinformatics Foundation (OBF) is a non-profit, volunteer-run group dedicated to promoting the practice and philosophy of Open Source software development and Open Science within the biological research community.
Our main activities are:
- Running and supporting the BOSC conferences.
- Organizing and supporting developer-centric "Hackathon" events.
- Participating in the Google Summer of Code program on behalf of our member projects as an umbrella mentoring organization.
- Running the OBF Travel Fellowship program (launched March 2016).
- Managing servers, colocation facilities, bank account, domain names, and other assets for the benefit of our member projects.
- Public opinion and policy statements about matters related to Open Source and Open Science in bioinformatics.
The Foundation does not participate directly in the development or structure of the open source work, but as the members of the foundation are drawn from our projects' developer communities, there is clear commonality of direction and purpose.
The OBF is governed by a Board of Directors. Our bylaws lay out how the Board is elected, holds public meetings, and conducts its business, as well as the scope and role of our membership. OBF is an associated project with Software In The Public Interest, Inc., a fiscal sponsorship organization, and through SPI we can accept tax-exempt charitable donations.
The OBF is open to anyone who is interested in promoting open source bioinformatics / open science. Please see the Membership page for more information.
OBF grew out of the volunteer projects BioPerl, BioJava and Biopython and was formally incorporated in 2001 in order to handle modest requirements of hardware ownership, domain name management and funding for conferences and workshops. In 2005, we enacted bylaws for the first time, and along with it created a formal membership.
In 2012, we decided to give up our own incorporation to associate ourselves with Software In The Public Interest, Inc., a fiscal sponsorship organization that we felt aligned well with our own values and culture. The bylaws underwent a series of changes, in part to better reflect our current practices, and in part to pave the way for joining SPI. The changes were approved on Sep 11, 2012, our membership overwhelmingly approved of associating with SPI, and as of October 12, 2012, OBF is a SPI-associated project.