Council Chamber meeting 29 Sept 2017
Council Chamber meeting 29 Sept 2017 (Image: CERN)

The cornerstone of the open-source philosophy is that the recipients of technology should have access to all its building blocks, such as software code, schematics for electronics and mechanical designs, in order to study it, modify it and redistribute it to others. Ever since releasing the World Wide Web software under an open-source model in 1994, CERN has continuously been a pioneer in this field, supporting open-source hardware (with the CERN Open Hardware Licence), open access (with the Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics - SCOAP³) and open data (with the Open Data Portal for the LHC experiments).

The CERN Open Data portal is a testimony to CERN’s policy of Open Access and Open Data. The portal allows the LHC experiments to share their data with a double focus: for the scientific community, including researchers outside the CERN experimental teams, as well as citizen scientists, and for the purposes of training and education through specially curated resources. The first papers based on data from the CERN Open Data portal have been published.

Several CERN technologies are being developed with open access in mind. Invenio is an open-source library management package, now benefiting from international contributions from collaborating institutes, typically used for digital libraries. Indico, a conferencing package based on Invenio, is another open-source tool developed at CERN used by more than 200 sites worldwide, including the United Nations. INSPIRE, the High Energy Physics information system, is another example of open source software developed by CERN together with DESY, Fermilab and SLAC.

CERN, with co-funding from the European Commission, has also invested in Zenodo, a free repository for storing data, software and other research artefacts. It is intended for use beyond the High Energy Physics community and taps into CERN’s long-standing tradition and know-how in sharing and preserving scientific knowledge for the benefit of all. Zenodo is hosted at CERN and provides the wider scientific community with the option of storing its data in a non-commercial environment and making it freely available to society at large.