About Us

The VErmont ReSearch Open Source Program Office (VERSO) is an pilot project at the University of Vermont that will build an open source community by empowering sustainable innovation through engagements, educational activities, fellowships, internships, research and community collaboration


The VErmont ReSearch OSPO (VERSO) is an pilot project at the University of Vermont to:

  • Build an effortless Open Source Ecosystem;
  • Grow a Community on and off campus and document the development of the VERSO community as it emerges;
  • Work alongside the UVM OCEAN research team to investigate research questions related to open source ecosystems;
  • Build an organizational infrastructure and systems at UVM allowing VERSO to store, share, and facilitate the creation of open source software

Open Source Program Offices (OSPOs) are an organizational innovation developed initially by companies in the tech sector as a way to institutionalize support for open source software projects of strategic relevance to the business’s interests, market, and workforce. The innovation has begun to be adopted by universities, with OSPOs being created as a useful formal mechanism for supporting open work relevant to the research and teaching interests of faculty. University OSPOs offer training and support, document the value of open source work and facilitate relationships between researchers and other academic units like technology transfer, research computing, or the library or even community partnerships.

Our Goals

We plant to build university systems and infrastructure to facilitate open-source development throughout the university structure for cross-unit cooperation. Such functionality includes crafting new processes, procedures, policies, and agreements with university leadership and relevant departments. Through the development of several open-source software initiatives, we will train, engage, and empower students and researchers to learn how to contribute to an open-source project. Open-source software initiatives will focus on several topics, including drone software, agriculture and food systems, interlibrary lending, health initiatives, and other transdisciplinary programs at UVM.


VERSO will work with key community stakeholders as co-learners and co-developers in open-source software projects. UVM’s Office of Engagement works with agency, business, and non-profit partners throughout Vermont, with the goal of connecting them with faculty partners with complimentary interests. UVM Extension has a long-standing network of partners across all of Vermont and 11 satellite offices to augment the work done at UVM. Both Extension and the Office of Engagement fulfill UVM’s land grant mission to ensure the university’s research and creative endeavors serve the public good in Vermont by ensuring a two-way conversation with community partners. We will ask for the needs of the community and invite them to work with researchers to find creative solutions to meet real needs. Increasingly these needs will require technological solutions and VERSO will address these needs by engaging the larger university by contributing to and utilizing open-source software produced through VERSO.

We believe broad ecosystem data from open-source projects will promote positive (as opposed to normative) studies of open-source within science. We will develop a sample of scientific projects and their users, establishing an appropriate baseline sample of non-science projects for comparison. A meaningful effort to sample scientific projects is admittedly difficult, because it is difficult to define exactly what constitutes “science.” We plan to begin with three types of projects with three signals. First, projects tagged ‘science’ in GitHub, of which nearly 2000 now exist. Second, projects created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (We know that both scientists and citizens in the OSS ecosystem produced useful science code, providing a clear signal.) Third, of course, projects internal to our own OSPO.

Our Team

James Bagrow

VERSO Senior Personnel, Vermont Complex Systems Center, Mathematics and Statistics, UVM

Corine Farewell

VERSO Key Personnel, UVM Tech Transfer, UVM

Kendall Fortney

VERSO Program Director, UVM

Bryn Geffert

VERSO Senior Personnel Co-PI, Dean of Libraries, UVM

Laurent Hebert-Dufresne

VERSO Senior Personnel, Vermont Complex Systems Center, CS, UVM

Juniper Lovato

VERSO Principal Investigator, Research Assistant Professor of Computer Science, UVM

John Meluso

VERSO Postdoctoral Fellow for Systems, Organizations, & Inclusion, Vermont Complex Systems Center, UVM

Meredith Niles

VERSO Key Personnels, Vermont Complex Systems Center, Food Sciences, UVM

Jonathan St-Onge

VERSO PhD Fellow, Vermont Complex Systems Center, UVM

Our Supporters

VERSO is generously supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant number: G-2021-16956. Funds from this grant support an ambitious set of activities at the University of Vermont developed by a group of people from three different parts of campus: the Library, the Complex Systems Center, and the Office of the Vice President for Research. Led by Juniper Lovato and Bryn Geffert, in the Vermont Complex Systems Center and Library, respectively, the team will build relationships with university stakeholders to create infrastructure for centralizing open-source activity, engage the broader community around an initial set of open-source projects, conduct trainings and create educational materials, and use all of the above as a case study to conduct open source ecosystems research. VERSO is generously supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant number: G-2021-16956.


There are no open positions at this time


We would love to have you as a volunteer for the VERSO Program. There are a variety of opportunities, from helping run events, assisting projects, helping other as a mentor,  etc. 

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