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13-14 November 2024

OpenForum Academy Symposium

Hosted by
Digital Data Design Institute
at Harvard
Academic Partners
the event

Open Source in the Global Digital Economy

The OFA Symposium is the only academic conference covering questions relating to the social, political and economic impact of Open Source. The Symposium enables the linking of research agendas, growth of the research community, and the understanding of the societal value of Open Source.

The 2023 edition of the OFA Symposium at TU Berlin set the OFA’s agenda for Open Source research for the coming years. The 2024 edition is hosted by the Digital Data Design Institute at Harvard to evolve the concept even further and raise the ambition level of the quality and impact of academic open source research.

The OFA Symposium will bring together an interdisciplinary set of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers from around the world to Harvard Business School, Boston, in order to explore the transformative power of Open Source software and hardware.

Under the theme Open Source in the Global Digital Economy the OFA Symposium will focus on the social, political, and economic implications of open source. We will examine how open source is changing the way we work, communicate, and interact with each other, and how it is shaping the future of technology and society.

We look forward to you joining us for this unique event, and look forward to exploring the social, political, and economic impact of Open Source together.


The OFA Symposium 2024 will be hosted by the Digital Data Design Institute at Harvard and located in Boston at Harvard Business School as an in-person event


Register to attend the event

    The OFA Symposium is open to all interested in Open Source and not limited to the academic public.

    * Mandatory field

    Important dates
    07 August
    CfP closes
    21 August
    Acceptance Notifications
    04 September
    Publication of Programme
    09 October
    Full Paper Submission
    30 October
    Camera-ready Paper
    13-14 November
    Basil Cousins Award

    In memory of late OFE co-founder Basil Cousins we have instituted the Basil Cousins Award, which will go to a young, promising academic researching the societal effects of open innovation and open technologies.

    Jérémie Haese won the 2023 Basil Cousins Award with his paper “Open at the Core: Moving from Proprietary Technology to Building a Product on Open Source Software”.

    The winner will be selected among the participants of the Symposium and will receive a prize of €5000. Join us in celebrating the legacy of Basil Cousins and the future of open innovation and open technologies!

    Challenges to the Research of Open Source

    Researchers face challenges when studying open source software and hardware, including issues related to data access, ethics, and community engagement. This session will explore innovative research methods and strategies for addressing these challenges, and highlight the importance of open source research for understanding its impact on society.

    Economic Impact of Open Source

    Open source software and hardware are disrupting traditional business models and creating new opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship. We will discuss the economic benefits and challenges of open source, including its impact on job markets, intellectual property rights, and the development of emerging technologies and its potential to shape the future of the global economy.

    Funding Models for Open Source Contributors

    There are different funding models available to support open source contributors, including, but not limited to corporate sponsorship, grants, and individual donations. We’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each model, and explore how to sustainably support open source communities as well as foster long-term sustainability in the open source ecosystem.

    Future Software Liability Regulation and Open Source

    Software liability regulation entails legal and ethical implications for open source software. We will examine the potential risks and benefits of liability regulation, and discuss how it may impact the development and adoption of open source software. The discussion will provide an insight into the evolving legal landscape surrounding open source software and its implications for the industry.

    Open Chips Changing the Paradigm in Semiconductors

    Open source hardware is already transforming parts of the semiconductor industry and creating new opportunities for innovation and collaboration. We will explore the challenges and opportunities presented by open source chips, including their potential to disrupt traditional supply chains and foster new models of hardware development.

    Open Source and Geopolitics

    Open source software and hardware have entered the geopolitical stage. We will explore the ways in which open source is changing the nature of technology development and innovation, and discuss the implications for national security, diplomacy, and economic competitiveness. Insights into the evolving role of open source in geopolitics and its impact on the global stage will be discussed.

    Open Source as Digital Commons

    Open source software and hardware can be seen as digital commons, enabling the sharing of resources, knowledge, and innovation. We will explore the challenges and opportunities presented by this paradigm, including issues related to governance, sustainability, and community management.

    Open Source as Infrastructure

    Open source software and hardware has become digital public infrastructure, enabling the creation of public goods and services that benefit society as a whole. We will examine the potential of open source to facilitate collaboration between government, industry, and civil society, and discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by this paradigm.

    The Intersection of Open Source and Standardisation

    Open Source Software and hardware and standardisation are complementary while they challenge each others. At the same time there are ways in which they can work together to drive innovation, interoperability, and adoption. This topic will be an opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by this intersection, and share best practices and case studies for leveraging open source to advance standardisation efforts and vice versa.

    The OSPO as the New Institutional Collaboration Model

    Open Source Programme Offices have emerged as a new model for institutional collaboration and innovation. This session will be an opportunity to explore the role of OSPOs in facilitating open source adoption and contribution within and across organisations, and discuss best practices for establishing and managing OSPOs. What are the latest trends and developments in OSPOs and how can this model drive collaboration, innovation, and value creation.

    The Role of Open Source in AI

    Open source is driving AI development by democratizing technology, fostering innovation, and creating social and economic opportunities. Research is exploring trends in open source AI, which can lead to transparent, ethical, and inclusive AI systems, shaping a future where AI benefits everyone.

    The State of Diversity in Open Source

    We will examine the state of diversity and inclusion in the open source community, including issues related to representation, participation, and access. We will explore the challenges and opportunities presented by this issue, and discuss strategies for promoting greater diversity and inclusion in the development of open source software and hardware.

    About OpenForum Academy

    OpenForum Academy is an independent programme established by OpenForum Europe. It has created a link with academia in order to provide new input and insight into the key issues which impact digital openness.

    Central to the operation of OpenForum Academy are the Fellows, each selected as individual contributors to the work of OFA. A number of academic organisations have agreed to work with OFA, working both with the Fellows and within a network of contributors in support of developing research initiatives.

    The Fellows are regular contributors to the work of OpenForum Europe, participate in our policy work, in research OFE conducts and as speakers at events aimed at policymakers in Brussels, acting as a bridge between academia and policy.