Open source policies in UK universities and colleges – what’s changed over the past 10 years?

As a result of the OSS Watch National Software Survey, we now have 10 years of survey data on open source in universities and colleges in the UK, so we can look at some long term trends. Today I’ve been looking at institutional IT policies.

Back in 2003, most IT policies in colleges and universities in the UK didn’t mention open source at all, while today that position is reversed.

We’ve also seen the demise of policies that prohibit open source; while at the same time policies that state a preference for open source also seem to be on the way out.


So, are universities and colleges moving towards a “level playing field” approach to open source and setting “equal consideration” policies? Perhaps; though IT policies are only a part of that equation.

We also have survey data from 2008-2013 for what types of software are being considered for procurement and deployment in practice:


So, equal consideration of open source software is on the increase, but there is still a long way to go; and if the rate of change over the past five years is anything to go by, we’ll never get there!

Perhaps what we’re seeing is a lag between changes in policy filtering through into changes to processes and practices – or perhaps its not filtering through at all.

For more information on open source policies and procurement processes, read our briefing note Decision factors for open source software procurement.

The full results of the 2013 OSS Watch National Software Survey will be published in January