BOSC 2016 Panel: Growing and Sustaining Open Source Communities

Every year, BOSC includes a panel discussion that offers attendees the chance to engage in conversation with the panelists and each other. BOSC is all about community, so this year’s panel topic–Growing and Sustaining Open Source Communities–is right at the heart of what we do. Since the first BOSC in 2000, we have focused on bringing together open source bioinformatics developers and users to form and expand collaborations and grow the communities that use and improve their tools and resources.

Community projects have resulted in some of the most popular bioinformatics resources. However, there are many challenges that may be encountered as a community effort develops and evolves. For example:

  • How can an open source community integrate a diverse set of participants, including people with different levels of experience, different interests, and different demographic characteristics?
  • How can non-developers (for example, people who primarily write documentation, or who are users of the software) contribute to these projects?
  • What funding approaches have successfully sustained open source communities after any core funding has run out?
  • What technologies have helped open source communities coordinate efficient communication and planning across multiple locations?
  • What organizational models have some of these communities followed?

This panel brings together six people (five panelists plus a moderator) who have worked to sustain open source communities. They will join audience members in an open dialog about challenges encountered during the life cycle of these communities and approaches to addressing them.

Panel chair Mónica Muñoz-Torres is the biocuration lead for Berkeley Bioinformatics Open-Source Projects (BBOP) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Abigail Cabunoc Mayes is the Lead Developer of the Mozilla Science Lab.

Bastian Greshake co-founded openSNP, a crowdsourced/citizen science open data project.

Jamie Whitacre is the technical project manager for Project Jupyter, which grew out of the widely used IPython Notebook.

John Chilton of Penn State is a software developer on the Galaxy project, and one of the co-founders of the Common Workflow Language.

Natasha Wood of the University of Cape Town is the co-founder of the Cape Unseminars in Bioinformatics.

Please see for more information about the panelists.

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