The U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) has developed an open-source policy for sharing of software developed by the ARL, intended to encourage new ideas among federal and nonfederal research organizations. The Federal Source Code Policy ensures that custom-developed federal source code is broadly available for reuse across the federal government.
The policy also established a pilot program by which federal agencies are required to release at least 20% of new custom-developed source code as open-source software for three years, and to collect additional data regarding new custom software as a way of gauging the performance of the custom code.
The new policy provides ARL with the means of allowing external researchers to verify the performance of source code developed by ARL, as well as to allow those researchers to leverage new code for other benefits. The types of source code being developed by ARL include simulation software, automation code for laser systems, network analysis code, and control code for robots and robotic systems. Sharing of code occurs on the social networking site GitHub.
“It is increasingly important for ARL to work together with the wider research community to leverage their insights given the increasing pace of technological developments of importance to the Army,” remarked ARL Deputy Chief Scientist Dr. Mary Harper. “By sharing the code we develop with the research community, ARL researchers will not only interest them in our Army-relevant research, but will also enable the outside community to more effectively engage with ARL in working collaboratively on problems of mutual interest.”