Open Research Institute, Inc. (ORI) is a non-profit research and development organization which provides all of its work to the general public under the principles of Open Source and Open Access to Research.
One important purpose of ORI is to facilitate worldwide collaboration in the development of technology that would otherwise be restricted under national laws like ITAR and EAR, for example our Digital Space Communications Ground Station project. By making use of carve-outs in ITAR and EAR for published knowledge, we can share work with the public worldwide. Read more about our ITAR and EAR strategy.
ORI also pursues important research and development in other areas of Open Source, Open Hardware, Open Standards, Open Content, and Open Access to Research. For example, our Open Cars project is performing research into the potential for the aftermarket to provide autonomous driving systems and automotive telematics systems independently of automobile manufacturers.
Our policies work to further expand the software and research available to the public, beyond our own development. Our software is placed under licenses that preferentially drive a broad public sharing in further development of the software as Open Source, rather than facilitating the creation of proprietary software to which the public does not have access. The GNU General Public License, the license behind the tremendous success of Linux, is one of our preferred software licenses.
ORI does not allow participation for the purpose of developing goods or services for national defense, even by the United States. This is necessary so that we can comply with the export laws of many nations, not only the United States. We do allow and encourage participation for the purpose of national disaster preparedness and response, for example under contract to FEMA in the United States.
While ORI does not participate in secret, classified, or proprietary research and development, we work with organizations which do, when both open and secret are necessary for a non-defense project. For example, our space communications ground station will communicate with disaster preparedness and response space facilities built by AMSAT and by Virginia Tech’s Hume Center and we’d like to work with launch providers like NASA, SpaceX, ULA, etc. To facilitate their interaction with the United States Government, these organizations operate under an ITAR and EAR policy that allows secrets and sometimes restricts participation to individuals in the United States only. Organizations outside of the U.S. implement similar policies relative to their nations. We hope that by demonstrating that openness is the best policy, ORI can influence other organizations, especially the non-profit ones, to adopt our policy wherever possible.
We have incorporated as a non-profit organization in California. We are seeking certification by the US Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit organization.