Mending Chesterton’s Fence: Open Source Decision-making

Joe Wass

Joe Wass – 2024 March 18

In EngineeringPOSI

When each line of code is written it is surrounded by a sea of context: who in the community this is for, what problem we’re trying to solve, what technical assumptions we’re making, what we already tried but didn’t work, how much coffee we’ve had today. All of these have an effect on the software we write. By the time the next person looks at that code, some of that context will have evaporated.

POSI fan tutte

Just over a year ago, Crossref announced that our board had adopted the Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure (POSI). It was a well-timed announcement, as 2021 yet again showed just how dangerous it is for us to assume that the infrastructure systems we depend on for scholarly research will not disappear altogether or adopt a radically different focus. We adopted POSI to ensure that Crossref would not meet the same fate.

Crossref’s Board votes to adopt the Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure


On November 11th 2020, the Crossref Board voted to adopt the “Principles of Open Scholarly Infrastructure” (POSI). POSI is a list of sixteen commitments that will now guide the board, staff, and Crossref’s development as an organisation into the future. It is an important public statement to make in Crossref’s twentieth anniversary year. Crossref has followed principles since its founding, and meets most of the POSI, but publicly committing to a codified and measurable set of principles is a big step. If 2019 was a reflective turning point, and mid-2020 was about Crossref committing to open scholarly infrastructure and collaboration, this is now announcing a very deliberate path. And we’re just a little bit giddy about it.