Is your software open or fauxpen?


Is your software project open or “fauxpen”? Are there barriers in place preventing external developers from contributing? Barriers to commercial uptake? Barriers to understanding how the software or the project itself works?

These are the kind of questions that the OSS Watch team, in partnership with Pia Waugh, developed the Openness Rating to help you find out.

Using a series of questions covering legal issues, governance, standards, knowledge sharing and market access, the tool helps you to identify potential problem areas for users, contributors and partners.

We’ve used the Openness Rating at OSS Watch for several years as a key part of our consultancy work, but this is the first time we’ve made the app itself open for anyone to use.

It requires a fair bit of knowledge to get the most out of it, but even at a basic level its useful for highlighting questions that a project needs to be able to answer. If you have a software project developed within your research group, then you can use the app to get an idea of where the barriers might be. Likewise, you can use it if you’re considering contributing to a software project, for example when evaluating a platform to use as the basis of work in a research project.

Some of the questions do require a bit more specialist knowledge, but you can contact our team via email at to get help.

Get started with the Openness Rating tool.

Photo by Alan Levine used under CC-BY-SA.

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