Open Source Software Sustainability Models: Initial White Paper from the Information Technology for Cancer Research Sustainability and Industry Partnership Work Group


The Sustainability and Industry Partnership Work Group (SIP-WG) is a part of the National Cancer Institute Informatics Technology for Cancer Research (ITCR) program. The charter of the SIP-WG is to investigate options of long-term sustainability of open source software (OSS) developed by the ITCR, in part by developing a collection of business model archetypes that can serve as sustainability plans for ITCR OSS development initiatives. The workgroup assembled models from the ITCR program, from other studies, and via engagement of its extensive network of relationships with other organizations (e.g., Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Open Source Initiative and Software Sustainability Institute). This article reviews existing sustainability models and describes ten OSS use cases disseminated by the SIP-WG and others, and highlights five essential attributes (alignment with unmet scientific needs, dedicated development team, vibrant user community, feasible licensing model, and sustainable financial model) to assist academic software developers in achieving best practice in software sustainability.

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