Open Source Licensing for Rocket Scientists

In science and engineering, more and more software is published as Open Source software or uses other Open Source projects. Due to the different licenses with their requirements and restrictions as well as the resultant license compatibility issues, scientists and engineers must be aware of these issues. Ideally, they have some basic understanding about Open Source licensing. Unfortunately, in practice this understanding is not present, especially if more than one Open Source license is involved. In this talk, we describe our strategy at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) to awake the awareness among our domain scientists for licensing issues and to enable and support them in using and publishing Open Source software without facing licensing problems. Our strategy is based on providing hands-on material and training courses first, instead of starting issuing "official" but impractical process guides. Our current focus is on knowledge sharing between peer scientists using online tools as well as face-to-face workshops. Thereby collected findings and feedback from DLR scientist have proven to be helpful to improve existing documentation and to identify further steps.

Andreas Schreiber is head of the Department for Intelligent and Distributed Systems and at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), located in Berlin, Braunschweig and Cologne. His research fields include reproducible and open data science, distributed computing, provenance, machine learning, information visualization, and software analytics. His mission is to combine these fields to creative cutting-edge software systems to solve challenging tasks in aeronautics and space research. He is also an Open Source and Open Science advocate at DLR.