Brussels / 3 & 4 February 2018


Researchers and Software Licenses

The story of what we are doing at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) to prevent licensing disasters

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. But how do you teach scientists and engineers knowledge about open source licenses?

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 scientists have proven to be helpful to improve existing documentation and to identify further steps. Our strategy is based on years of experience and permanently updating and extending our initial approach. We want to share the so gained knowledge with other projects, rearchers, and companies to help the Open Source communities found there to improve.


Photo of Andreas Schreiber Andreas Schreiber