Developer and Participant Policies

No National Defense Participation

Due to our need to comply with ITAR, EAR, and the export laws of other nations, we can not allow the participation for the purpose of creating devices or services for national defense. This would expose us to regulation that would prevent international collaboration on our projects.

You must not participate in an ORI project, use any ORI facility, or participate in discussion using ORI mailing lists or other discussion facilities for the purpose of national defense. If you wish to use ORI software for purposes of national defense, don’t ask us for help. We are legally required not to provide it and will most likely ban you from our discussion lists and other facilities.

Individuals who are contributing to Open Source development for immediate public disclosure, for a purpose other than national defense, may participate in ORI projects, regardless of their affiliation.

Individuals who are making use of Open Source for reasons other than national defense may participate in ORI projects regardless of their affiliation.

Participation for national disaster preparedness and response (for example, by FEMA in the U.S. and many Amateur Radio organizations worldwide) is allowed and encouraged. Defense vendors may be required to demonstrate that they are working on a contract with a national disaster preparedness organization such as FEMA.

The Problem From The Radio Amateur Viewpoint

Many of our wireless projects are for use by Radio Amateurs (“ham radio” operators). Each nation regulates the use of particular communication technologies by their Radio Amateurs. Digital communications are particularly subject to regulation, because of the potential for them to be used with encryption and the special equipment necessary for a national regulator to receive them. So that nations continue to authorize use of our work on the air by their Radio Amateurs, our projects must clearly not be for any military purpose.

When Radio Amateurs participate in DX-peditions, they travel to another nation for the purpose of making on-air contacts from an area that has few or no local ham radio operators. Hams collect contacts from such rare and distant locations, and thus appreciate the Amateurs who go to those places and make contacts from them with other hams worldwide. The local governments whose nations are visited by DX-peditions must be assured that the hams are not spies and are not there for any military purpose. Often local governments are unfamiliar with the technology that is brought on DX-peditions, and fearful because they do not own any means to receive and decode the signals – especially in the case of ORI’s digital communications projects, which may be seen as cryptography even when signals are actually sent in the clear.

Suspicion of Radio Amateurs by national governments has resulted in their imprisonment in various countries and could even result in execution. More often it results in the government suddenly rescinding the privilege of operating in their nation, often after the hams have gone to great expense to travel to an inaccessible place, chartering ships or aircraft and bringing lots of large and heavy equipment. ORI works to prevent such suspicion by maintaining its projects as clearly non-military.

What To Do

Participation for defense purposes often first shows as a posting to a mailing list or discussion forum by an individual from their workplace, where the workplace is clearly involved in creating defense hardware or services for its national government. If you notice such a communication, don’t answer it. Check to see if the vendor is on the list of Admitted Defense Vendors, which will state the non-defense project they are working on. If they’re not on the list, refer the issue to the officer in ORI charged with denying defense participation (currently Bruce Perens K6BP, bruce at perens dot com).

If a defense contractor seeks to participate in an ORI project, they must be able to provide proof of a non-military purpose (for example, public record of an active contract with FEMA, NIST, NOAA, etc.,). We may require additional documentation, and the ORI board retains the right to accept or reject the organization at its discretion.

If the intended participation is military in nature, we will ask the group to desist, or electronically bar them from doing so, and share the related communications with the appropriate authorities.

Keep It Public

ORI’s protection from export restrictions such as ITAR and EAR depends on all work being made available to the public. Developers and other participants are encouraged to carry out discussions related to ORI projects in an online forum that is archived on the ORI web site. Development of software or textual data should be checked in to the relevant project repository each day that the developer works on the project. Please make sure that every aspect of all of our projects is available to the public.

Transfer of Physical Objects Restricted Under ITAR or EAR

Our ITAR and EAR policy protects us from being regulated under ITAR and EAR when we share computer data, including software and designs, internationally. It does not protect us when we transfer physical objects that are regulated under ITAR and EAR to non-US-nationals or across national borders.

Physical objects which are probably subject to ITAR and EAR and which may require an export license include, but are not limited to: space communications, space satellites, rocketry, encryption.

When you need to transfer this sort of material, please contact the board of directors.

Countries on the ITAR embargoed list will probably have export licenses denied. At this writing, these are: Afghanistan, Belarus, Central African Republic, Cuba, Cyprus, Eritrea, Fiji, Iran, Iraq, Cote d’Ivoire, Lebanon, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Vietnam, Myanmar, China, Haiti, Liberia, Rwanda, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Republic of the Sudan (Northern Sudan), Yemen, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Code of Conduct

Our code of conduct is currently taken from one on the Geek Feminism Wiki. This was put in place by the board of directors. It is fully supported by the board of directors and all project leadership. This policy applies to all developers and other participants, and to the board itself.

We are aware that some individuals may choose not to work with ORI due to this policy. When that happens, the policy is having its intended effect of excluding such individuals.

Open Research Institute is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone. We do not tolerate harassment of participants in any form.

This code of conduct applies to all Open Research Institute spaces, both online and off. Anyone who violates this code of conduct may be sanctioned or expelled from these spaces at the discretion of the Board of Directors.

Some Open Research Institute spaces may have additional rules in place, which will be made clearly available to participants. Participants are responsible for knowing and abiding by these rules.

Harassment includes:

  • Offensive comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, neuro(a)typicality, physical appearance, body size, age, race, or religion.
  • Unwelcome comments regarding a person’s lifestyle choices and practices, including those related to food, health, parenting, drugs, and employment.
  • Deliberate misgendering or use of “dead” or rejected names (the name of a person before they changed it or adopted a name appropriate to their chosen gender), except to protect vulnerable people from intentional abuse.
  • Gratuitous or off-topic sexual images or behaviour  in spaces where they’re not appropriate.
  • Physical contact and simulated physical contact (eg, textual descriptions like “*hug*” or “*backrub*”) without consent or after a request to stop.
  • Threats of violence.
  • Incitement of violence towards any individual, including encouraging a person to commit suicide or to engage in self-harm.
  • Deliberate intimidation.
  • Stalking or following.
  • Harassing photography or recording, including logging online activity for harassment purposes.
  • Sustained disruption of discussion.
  • Unwelcome sexual attention.
  • Pattern of inappropriate social contact, such as requesting/assuming inappropriate levels of intimacy with others.
  • Deliberately mis-representing gender status for the purpose of deceiving a person into romantic communications with the belief that the party has a different gender status than actual.
  • Continued one-on-one communication after requests to cease.
  • Deliberate “outing” of any aspect of a person’s identity without their consent except as necessary to protect vulnerable people from intentional abuse.
  • Publication of non-harassing private communication.

Open Research Institute prioritizes marginalized people’s safety over privileged people’s comfort. The Board of Directors reserves the right not to act on complaints regarding:

  • Reverse” -isms, including “reverse racism,” “reverse sexism,” and “cisphobia”
  • Reasonable communication of boundaries, such as “leave me alone,” “go away,” or “I’m not discussing this with you.”
  • Communicating in a “tone” you don’t find congenial
  • Criticizing racist, sexist, cissexist, or otherwise oppressive behavior or assumptions.


If you are being harassed by a member of Open Research Institute, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact the Board of Directors. If the person who is harassing you is on the board, they will recuse themselves from handling your incident. We will respond as promptly as we can.

This code of conduct applies to Open Research Institute spaces, but if you are being harassed by a member of Open Research Institute outside our spaces, we still want to know about it. We will take all good-faith reports of harassment by Open Research Institute members, especially the Board of Directors, seriously. This includes harassment outside our spaces and harassment that took place at any point in time. The abuse team reserves the right to exclude people from Open Research Institute based on their past behavior, including behavior outside Open Research Institute spaces and behavior towards people who are not in Open Research Institute.

In order to protect volunteers from abuse and burnout, we reserve the right to reject any report we believe to have been made in bad faith. Reports intended to silence legitimate criticism may be deleted without response.

We will respect confidentiality requests for the purpose of protecting victims of abuse. At our discretion, we may publicly name a person about whom we’ve received harassment complaints, or privately warn third parties about them, if we believe that doing so will increase the safety of Open Research Institute members or the general public. We will not name harassment victims without their affirmative consent.


Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

If a participant engages in harassing behavior, the Board of Directors may take any action they deem appropriate, up to and including expulsion from all Open Research Institute spaces and identification of the participant as a harasser to other Open Research Institute members or the general public.