Released: Report on Our Member Survey

This year, OSI Board member Elana Hashman began a project to survey OSI’s stakeholders. This was the first time in our history that we have formally surveyed people in our community. Some of the results were surprising and some were expected, but on the whole, the participants we spoke with want to see OSI do “more.” Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.

Who did we talk to?

Hashman conducted 58 interviews with current, past, and prospective OSI members. Our goal was to find out what open source practioners who aren’t already significantly involved with OSI are interested in as well as talking to our long-time supporters. We asked questions to better understand our audience, how they view us and what they’d like to see us undertake in the near future. In addition to the membership survey, we are also working to survey other OSI stakeholders, such as sponsors and policy organizations, in order to make recommendations to the board and inform long-term planning efforts.

Elana Hashman, OSI Board Director said, “I’m very excited to present the report for the OSI’s first members survey. As the Membership Committee Chair, I think it is crucial to seek input from our members in order to ensure that the OSI’s strategy is informed and representative. Participants have put many hours into sharing their thoughts on how they view the OSI and how we can improve the organization, and I am so appreciative of the community’s thoughtful responses and contributions.”

Response rates:
7% of our members participated
10% of our affiliates participated

Who’s in our community?

35% of respondents belonged to an underrepresented group, 10% worked in an open source programs office, 8% were students










What do people think about us?

People give the OSI feedback all the time — both positive and sometimes negative — but we mostly hear from people when they are really excited or really frustrated. We hoped to get sense of what people think of our work when they are considering us in the larger landscape of open source advocacy organizations.

“The vast majority of survey participants define the OSI’s core mission as stewarding the Open
Source Definition. This includes maintaining a list of open source licenses, advocating for and
raising awareness of open source, bridging a wide variety of open source participants, providing
common resources on the topic of open source, educating the public on the meaning of open
source, and fostering a diverse and inclusive open source community.” excerpted from the report.

What is the role of OSI?

Maintaining the Open Source Definition or “OSD” (58%) Maintaining the approved list of open source licenses (76%)







What would people like to see us do in the future?

We know that our members value our core actvities; we also wanted to hear their opinions about current or potential  partnerships and endorsements. We asked a number of questions about activities we could expand or things that stakeholders wished we would do more of or other resources people thought we could provide.

Nearly 1 in 4 respondents explicitly called upon the OSI to show leadership in driving diversity
and inclusion in the open source community

People had many, many suggestions on ways that the OSI could build on its core work, including but not limited to:

  •     Providing more educational resources
  •     Showcasing best practices for open source
  •     Helping define good open source citizenship
  •     Developing legal resources for projects beyond licenses
  •     Lead more discussions in the open source ecosystem.
  •     Enable cross-pollination between projects and foundations

Want more? Read the whole report!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the membership survey — we are really grateful for all the time you took to share your thoughtful reflections and informed opinions. Over the course of this year, the OSI Board is is surveying members and other stakeholders, looking at the organization’s slate of activities and building a strategic plan to become more impactful and data driven in service of our mission to promote open source and provide resources for open source practitioners. The full report is available here or you can email us for a copy.

Interested in becoming a member or renewing your membership today? You can do that right here.