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Research and innovation

Navigating open source: discover the ZOOOM project and its new toolkit

How open source software, hardware and data business models can enable new opportunities for value creation and knowledge valorisation?

Why open source?

Open source is the practice of making the source code, design, content or related data of a product or service publicly accessible and modifiable. This allows anyone to use, study, share and improve it, creating a collaborative innovation environment. It can be applied to different domains, such as software, hardware and data, each having its own specificities and challenges. Open source has several benefits for increased knowledge valorisation and societal impact, such as:

  • Increasing the accessibility, reusability and quality of research outputs;
  • Facilitating multi-stakeholder collaboration and co-creation;
  • Enabling transparency, accountability and participation in R&I processes;
  • Empowering communities and individuals to address societal challenges;
  • Creating new business opportunities and value propositions.

What are the main outcomes of the ZOOOM project?

ZOOOM has produced a number of results that aim to support and promote the adoption of open source technologies in building new businesses as well as in raising awareness about the growing importance of open source technologies in intellectual assets management. These include:

  • A comprehensive analysis of the state of the art, challenges, enablers, and best practices related to open source software, hardware and data licensing in the EU and beyond;
  • A set of policy recommendations and guidelines for policy makers, funders and research organisations to foster such a culture and practices, including policy briefs on open source AI, open data, open hardware and the role of open source as prior art in patent examination;
  • A toolkit for researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs on how to work with open source software, hardware and data licensing;
  • A series of trainings and capacity building, including events and webinars to raise awareness and foster skills on open source software, hardware and data licensing;
  • A network of open source ambassadors and champions to disseminate and advocate for open source software, hardware and data licensing in their communities.

ZOOOM underlines the importance of interactions between the 3Os while dealing with intellectual assets management and valorisation, including new forms of intellectual assets such as artificial intelligence systems which are an assemblage of software and data. It also highlights the role of organisations in the value chain in understanding and aligning their intellectual assets management strategies and business models with the complexity characterising each ecosystem.

Open source knowledge: the ZOOOM toolkit

The ZOOOM toolkit is a practical and user-friendly guide that provides step-by-step instructions, tips and resources for researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs who want to apply open source software, hardware and data licensing to their projects and ventures. The toolkit is available in beta testing online. It can also be an important tool when discussing business models and strategies centred around the use of open source technologies. The toolkit covers the following topics:

  • What is open source and why it matters for increased knowledge valorisation and societal impact?
  • How to choose the right open source license for your software, hardware or data project?
  • How to align, implement and manage your commercial open source licensing strategy with the business model of your project or venture?
  • How to integrate open source licensing policies in your existing intellectual assets strategy?
  • How open source business models enable more investment opportunities and facilitate due diligence?
  • How to communicate and collaborate with open source communities?

The toolkit is interactive and adaptable to different needs and contexts. You can use it as a self-learning tool, reference material, or a training resource. It includes case studies, examples, checklists, templates and links to further information.

Supporting open source policy making: the ZOOOM policy briefs

The ZOOOM policy briefs are concise and evidence-based documents that provide recommendations and guidelines for policy makers, funders and research organisations who want to foster open source culture and practices in research and innovation. The policy briefs address the following topics:

  • The benefits and challenges of open source AI and how open source licensing works in the age of machine learning;
  • The ethical aspects of free and open source software, hardware and data licensing and preserving software freedoms in the debates on open source AI;
  • The opportunities enabled by integrating open source prior art in patent examination to improve patent quality and increase trust in the patent system;
  • The skills, competencies and capacity building measures necessary to enable commercial open hardware and open data at scale;
  • The role of open data in the European data strategy.

The policy briefs are based on the findings of the ZOOOM project, as well as on the consultation of relevant stakeholders, such as the Open Source Initiative and the Free Software Foundation Europe. They are available online in PDF format. The briefs are intended to inform and inspire policy makers, funders and research organisations to implement policies and measures fostering business models based on open source software, hardware and data technologies.

What is ZOOOM?

ZOOOM is a three-year project funded by the Horizon Europe programme to raise awareness about the potential of Open Source Software, Open Hardware and Open Data (the 30s) and the business models they enable. ZOOOM aims to support sound decision making for businesses, knowledge generators, consultants and supporting organisations when building new products and services. It brings together 11 partners from 8 EU countries, including universities, research institutes, civil society organisations, SMEs and public authorities.

Where can I find more information?

If you want to learn more about ZOOOM, you can visit the project website where you find the toolkit, the policy briefs, the publications, the events and the contact details of the project partners. You can also follow the project on LinkedIn, X and Facebook to stay updated with the latest news and developments. 

(3Os and IP awareness raising for collaborative ecosystems (ZOOOM), Grant Agreement No. 101070077, Duration: 10/2022 - 09/2024)