Call for Authors: FOSS Health
TERMS OF REFERENCE
Author for Primer: FOSS Health
Duration: 6 months
Source Software has been revolutionizing many sectors of society. With the
availability of free/open source software, many resource-constrained countries are now able to participate more
actively in the information and communications technology (ICT) marketplace -- selling their own derivatives of FOSS
applications or offering quality services built on top of these. Health is one of the sectors rapidly evolving because of the contributions of ICT.
Health is a strategic sector that plays a fundamental role in the development of any society. Yet despite its information intensive nature, the sector has been generally slow in adopting the benefits of ICT into its workflows. This call for a primer on health aims to clearly define the many ways free/open source software can boost the health care process and ultimately lead to better outcomes.
FOSS from the perspective of the International Open Source Network encompasses not just software, but also standards and content.
Health is an information intensive industry that would ideally benefit from ICT and FOSS. Yet, despite this need, many health facilities and providers are reluctant to adopt ICT because of the substantial investments that such a move would entail. FOSS offers a cost-effective solution for such facilities. Aside from decreasing (even eliminating) expenses on licenses, open source software also improves quality by exposing the underlying algorithms allowing for its review – an important aspect among health practitioners.
In addition to software, open standards also play a major role in health. With the increasing threat of emerging infectious diseases that can spread the globe within twenty four hours, there is value in having open standards between health applications to allow for the effective and efficient exchange of critical health information.
Around the world, many FOSS applications have been developed for various environments. Vista is the electronic health record of the Veteran’s Administration and has a version released under the Freedom of Information Act. Other applications abound and all are available for anyone to download and use. Still, there are aspects in health software, such as security, that need to be considered by software, FOSS or otherwise. This paper aims to enumerate these aspects and demonstrate that compliance with these aspects are easier to achieve with FOSS than with proprietary solutions.
The field of medicine is experiencing tremendous changes in many aspects. Since the discovery of the DNA by Watson and Crick, a new untapped world has opened and volumes of information from the human genome are now offering new ways of combating diseases which have afflicted the human race for ages. They key to all of these discoveries is the availability of good reliable data to scientists. MEDLINE is the bibliographic database of the National Library of Medicine and has been available to the public for free since 1997. Likewise, other open access efforts like PubMedCentral and Public Library of Science have started to contribute significantly to the generation of new scientific knowledge. Open content is revolutionizing the discovery of new drugs and techniques and promises to be a potent equalizer of the digital divide.
This paper will:
Free/Open Source Software, Open Standards, and Open Content. It will
refer to previous primers already published by the IOSN and explain
the spectrum in which these co-exist. As far as possible, it will build upon previous primers already published by the IOSN.
➢ Provide a rationale for the use of Open Standards, Open Source, Open Content in Health
➢ Profile FOSS based health applications placing focus on those emanating from the Asia-Pacific region
➢ Compare FOSS-based health applications with proprietary equivalents and explain benefits and disadvantages.
➢ Give an overview of standards setting bodies in health and how Open Standards, Open Source, Open Content can enhance the work that these bodies are doing;
➢ Profile FOSS software and tools that can be used to create new content or migrate existing content
➢ Provide case studies where the use of standards have increased interoperability, scaling up of projects and process efficiency.
➢ Provide sample tenders for ICT projects; review existing policies endorsing open standards, open software, open content from this region.
Duties and Responsibilities of the Author
signed – project kick off (IOSN) Annotated
outline of the primer Feedback
to primer outline (IOSN) First
draft of primer (Author) Internal
feedback to the first draft (IOSN) Second
draft of primer + response to the internal feedback (Author) Peer
and public feedback to the primer (IOSN) Third
to the third draft (IOSN) Final
The Author will be required to carry out the following:
➢ Conduct background research on Open Standards, Open Source, Open Content for Health particularly in the Asia-Pacific context.
➢ Review and analyze existing FOSS-based applications (as above)
➢ Produce a first draft according to objectives as described above.
➢ Provide drafts of the primer taking into account the feedback provided by UNDP-IOSN according to the timeline below.
➢ Consolidate and compile feedback based on a select list of peer reviewers approved by UNDP-IOSN, and make the necessary revisions.
➢ Ensures that the publication material conforms to the UNDP Style Manual, December 2002 version.
The project will be undertaken based on the following timetable:
0th week 2nd week 3rd week 8th week 9th week 12th week 15th week 18th week 19th week 22nd week
All the copyright of research papers, materials, documents, publications, and online resources collected and worked upon by the Author belong UNDPIOSN.
UNDP-IOSN will license this body of work to the general public under the Creative Commons Attribution license. Therefore the Author has full rights to use the content and findings, for any further work of similar nature that s/he wishes to perform in the future.
Qualifications and Experience
➢ Substantial knowledge of Free and Open Source Software movement particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.
➢ Prior experience in research and publishing of papers on FOSS and in health (including open standards, open source software, and open content)
➢ Good command of English language communication and writing skills.
➢ Good communication and interpersonal skills and experience in working effectively in a multicultural environment.
➢ A team player and self starter, able to work with minimum supervision, with sound judgment.
Terms of Payments
A lump sum amount will be paid upon submission and acceptance by APDIP, of the final prepublication version of the Report. No further claims will be considered.
signed – project kick off (IOSN)
Annotated outline of the primer
to primer outline (IOSN)
draft of primer (Author)
feedback to the first draft (IOSN)
draft of primer + response to the internal feedback (Author)
and public feedback to the primer (IOSN)
Third draft (Author)
to the third draft (IOSN)
Interested authors are requested to send an e-mail to asean3 AT iosn DOT net attaching a curriculum vitae and a portfolio of creative works on or before February 28th, 2007.