The availability of open source software has continually transformed the computer industry for decades, and the field of health and biomedical informatics has been similarly transformed. Open source software permeates all aspects of informatics – from research and discovery, clinical systems, to broader population health – and crosses a variety of stakeholders, including researchers, software developers, end users, organizational leadership, and those considering policy and legal implications.
Some common misperceptions about open source software exist, however, such as conflating it with “free software” or assuming that open source software lacks any sustainability model.
The mission of the AMIA Open Source Working Group (OS-WG) is to educate and support the AMIA community in the creation, dissemination, evaluation, use, and long-term maintenance and sustainability of open source software.
The overall vision of the OS-WG is to provide AMIA members with unbiased information regarding the creation, use, and adoption of open source software, so that properly informed decisions can be made regarding its technical and organizational support, and collaborate with AMIA and the broader open source community on identifying and addressing common challenges.
The OS-WG group will provide education and awareness of open source software principles across the field of health and biomedical informatics, by supporting the varied interests and information needs of all stakeholders. This will be done in close collaboration with other AMIA Working Groups, as well as the larger open source community.
Proposed Activities and Outcomes
- Working group calls
- Face-to-face meetings at AMIA conferences
- Identification of relevant open source projects of interest to the informatics community
- Discuss grand challenges regarding open source (e.g. sustainability, business models, community building) and work to identify potential solution
- Education regarding open source software across all stakeholders
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
- Education to help members of the informatics community that want to contribute to open source software projects for the first time
- Identification and dissemination of relevant funding opportunities