The Johns Hopkins University Open Source Programs Office (OSPO) is excited to announce the launch of our new Explainer series, a collection of bite-sized videos tackling a variety of open-source essentials. 

Open-source software can serve as a catalyst for research transparency and innovation, but it can also seem complex and daunting, especially for those new to the concepts or without a technical background. The OSPO’s Explainers break down key topics into short easy-to-understand videos to help Hopkins faculty, staff, and students build their open-source knowledge. 

We’re planning to release new videos monthly – look out this summer for “What is an Open Source License,” “README Basics,” and “Citing Research Software.” 

To start off the series, the first Explainer video answers the question – What is Open Source Software? We talk about the definition of the term open source and the reasons why you may choose to use or contribute to open-source software. We also point to free resources for deeper learning. 

Have an idea for an Explainer? We’d love to hear it! Please reach out to

View the complete OSPO Explainer Library at