The Open Governing Index: How open is the R project?

August 8, 2011

(This article was first published on BioStatMatt » R, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

The Open Governing Index is a new measure developed by VisionMobile, that rates open-source projects regarding their governance process. The index has four facets, described thoroughly in the “Open Governance Index” publication, and briefly below.

  • access – These criteria assess the availability of source code, a permissive license, developer support mechanisms, a roadmap, and openness of decision-making processes.
  • development – These evaluate transparency of code contribution processes, the identity of committers and contributors, commit access requirements, and contribution licensing (the terms of outside contributions to The R Project).
  • derivatives – This addresses trademark use and the go-to-market approval process. This facet is important in mobile phone platforms, for example.
  • community – This criterion assesses the rights of community members.

VisionMobile researchers used the OGI to evaluate several open-source projects. Their report led me to wonder how The R Project would score. I invite readers of this blog and R-Bloggers to complete the OGI regarding The R Project, and contribute your results anonymously. I will present the aggregate results here in one week’s time.

I’ve set up an R Project OGI Questionnaire that presents the specific criteria and scoring rules (almost) verbatim from the OGI publication. Again, contributions are anonymous. Click here to complete the R Project OGI questionnaire.

Of course, the OGI metric is not perfect, and may miss important facets of open governance. In addition, there may be arguments against completely open governance in some open source projects. The intention is not to criticise The R Project governance, but to facilitate discussion of a difficult topic, encourage the R community to evaluate the merits of open governance, and identify potentially improvements. At a minimum, the OGI helps us evaluate The R Project relative to other large open source projects, like Linux, Mozilla, and WebKit.

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