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FGB Resource Contribution policy draft

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Establish policy and process of incorporation of donated resources by external entities, acknowledgements and so on.

  • This wiki page is to gather information and discussion for development of an explicit policy/process
    • Need both informational guidance on the web site for potential donors, as well as an SOU template for execution of such a donation. Would include definition of FGB and FMG roles.

Policy Statements

IP contribution

  • Contributions to FHIR resources from external organizations must be made through HL7 members, either organizational, individual, or affiliate; therefore they recognize they are contributing as part of their role in the organization.
  • Membership does implicitly and explicitly include contributions to IP.
    • Registration of external resources does not constitute contribution to IP. Core assets are subject to HL7 governance, administration and maintenance processes. Registering an extension does not fall under rubric of HL7 membership.
  • All products (resources, as well as code and examples) developed (draft, working, or final content) need to include HL7 copyright
  • All contributions need to be associated with an approved HL7 project. Project scope statement will include persons designated by the project with SVN commit access. Individuals with commit access must explicitly understand their obligation to inform and advise their community of interest on the nature of what is being committed. This includes revisions, updates, etc. FMG reserves the right to revoke SVN access if they feel the committer is not acting responsibly.
  • Whatever they donate must go through the "new resources" process. This includes a project scope statement, resource proposal, and technical level evaluation. Approved HL7 project may cover multiple resources or contributions. Contributions may be associated with an existing project.
  • Development of all resources developed internally or externally is subject to the HL7 ballot process (HL7 governance/management processes) to bring material to ballot as a standard.


Examples to consider:

  • Gil from Harvard in the early stages of donating their resource to HL7 to include in the core spec.
  • Registration of extensions as a form of contribution.
  • Affiliate development of realm-specific resources they bring back to HL7 International
  • Others developing resources they wish to register (for discoverability) but keep proprietary - extensions?
  • issue with John Moehrke that noted IHE wishes to take control of the Security Event resource. While there may be operational grounds for working with them on the resource, but organizationally it is anathema.
  • The MOUs need to be amended to specifically include IP restrictions to FHIR participation. If an external party (with an existing MOU) wishes to participate in the FHIR space they need to execute a new MOU, or they will have to create a conduit through an HL7 member. The interaction must be subject to HL7 governance and management processes.

Discussion From past minutes

  • From 20130730
    • Austin points out that under resource development at levels less than normative, HL7 will be creating a document to separate non-normative processes from the ANSI-accredited normative process. Resources are subject to the HL7 ballot process (HL7 governance/management processes).
    • Ewout asks about what of HL7 Affiliate-created resources? Contributions are subject to HL7 IP policy. In addition, affiliates may create resources that are realm-specific that are brought back. Need an example of affiliate resources in the Background.
    • Ron would also like to encourage interest by integration vendors and product vendors to build something and insert it into the HL7 process.
    • Ewout notes the current FHIR specification has resources, as well as code and examples. Bullet on 'products' developed needs clarification. This includes reference implementations in Java that might be pulled into other vendor. Austin notes there is also a license execution with the source code and reference implementations. The resulting product should also include such license agreement.
    • Austin adds that IHE is not technically a member but we have an MOU with them. The MOUs need to be amended to specifically include IP restrictions to FHIR participation. If an external party (with an existing MOU) wishes to participate in the FHIR space they need to execute a new MOU, or they will have to create a conduit through an HL7 member. The interaction must be subject to HL7 governance and management processes.
    • Registering an extension as a form of contribution - an extension will not be treated the same as a core resource. A core extension might be published as part of the standard and would be considered a contribution, but a non-core extension registration does not constitute a contribution. The Registration of extensions developed externally is not considered a contribution. Tying this to the next background bullet with proprietary extensions registered for discoverability. Registration of external resources does not constitute contribution to IP. Core assets are subject to HL7 governance, administration and maintenance processes. Registering an extension does not fall under rubric of HL7 membership.
    • Approved HL7 project may cover multiple resources or contributions. Contributions may be associated with an existing project. We need to separate this from the SVN commit access.
    • Externally funded development implicates a process for selecting the internal developers to be funded. We may wish to indicate that ONC can focus their additional resources on something of interest to them, but not necessarily funding within HL7. They can mobilize resources to work on projects under their mandate, that contribute to the HL7 standards space. External organizations cannot 'commission a project' with HL7. They would hire a bunch of consultants to work on a project within HL7 as is already done. Such practice is HL7 policy, not just FHIR policy. Organizations should feel they can contribute, that it will be a managed asset going forward. Can we identify the risk in the work by paid consultants, with mitigation strategies that include the preponderance of influence clause, the project approval process, the balloting process, etc. Remove the discussion item from the policy statements.

  • From email discussion
    • Formal role = what, exactly? Co-chair? Facilitator? Member?
    • list of people with gForge access right now. Everyone has commit access except for those noted as observers. (I may have missed some of some people's "official" roles - no offence intended :>) [Lloyd]
    • FGB is still assembling procedure and policy around Resource Contribution Policy, but in discussion today identified a suggestion for FMG to only grant SVN access to those with a formal role within HL7 unless further discussion is pursued. As a result, this would necessitate assessment of the logins already in place.
  • From 20130702_FGB_concall
    • Ron and Lynn will review FGB_Resource_Contribution_policy_draft policy statements and draft bullets - email pushback and discussion has not been added to the wiki page. If asserted through the cochairs or other formal responsibility within HL7 we may presume they recognize they are contributing as part of their role in the organization. Persons who do not have a formal role (under a coarsely grained policy for now) need to have a sense of what they're doing with their contribution and what that means. Suggestion was to require a contributor to read and acknowledge a policy statement regarding the collective IP of the FHIR asset. Woody cautions that we not establish process for any contributor to any WG to sign forms. Membership does implicitly and explicitly include contributions to IP. Contribution to the asset, derivative work, or extensions should require membership in order to contribute. Ewout notes that the NL affiliate work would bring back contributions through the affiliate.
      • Ron asks about those requesting SVN access? You must be a member for write/update. Woody notes that the SVN for FHIR is controlled differently from the rest of the repository.
      • Ewout notes the concern with those that wish to have influence in how the contribution is used and distributed.
      • Grahame joins and notes you may have IHE profile functionality over the FHIR resources. Need to be open to the possibility of other types of agreements. If we accept a use case proposed by IHE as a fundamental use case and ballot for comments we have an arrangement with IHE.
      • If they offer it and accept it to be an HL7 copyright, then no problem. If they object then you pull up the form, notes Woody.
      • Grahame finds it insufficient; if it's developed as part of an HL7 project that's the normal process but if a contribution is made around which a project is formed that's a different matter.
      • We don't want to discourage people to come and play, notes Ron. Grahame notes prior collaborations have been formed around agreements in scope but haven't been made formal nor explicit. Contributions like CCOW and GELLO didn't mesh well with the rest of the product in HL7.
      • Ron notes that FMG acknowledges the need to manage this but wishes for some guidance. Also want to distinguish between the mechanics of contribution in SVN and the policy. Simple statement could be that the person or their organization is a member of HL7. Ewout notes that all resources have so far been placed under the custody of a WG; suggests that we must find a WG willing to take responsibility for it. Gil, for example, would bring a contribution to a WG for review, and the WG (cochairs) would make the commit to SVN. Ewout notes the FMG would also serve as a good entry point as they track the resources and who's responsible for them as well. Ron counters that a WG as custodian for a contributed resource needs to understand what has been done. Ewout notes if the WG allows the author to have SVN access to post their material they also get a notice from SVN when a commit is made. Ron states the policy might be that contributions then are on behalf of that custodial group as verified by FMG.
      • org-to-org discussion could be raised when the situation comes up. Woody notes that our copyright needs to be asserted as early as possible. Is there pro-forma in the FHIR editing that stashes an HL7 copyright notation in material? Grahame says it's not automatic. How would we in HL7 spot it if someone had an external copyright assertion stashed somewhere? Grahame notes he would spot it, and it's textually searchable.
  • From 20130625 FGB concall
    • Grahame reports on a contribution that resurfaced last week with Gil as compared to Jean's allergy work. Austin reports that Jean is the modeling facilitator for Patient Care and was 'wearing that hat' for the work. What is a contribution as compared to just working with HL7?
    • Contributions into SVN by members having access draws a line, notes Ewout. Grahame notes that Lloyd gives SVN access to requesters with the understanding that it can be revoked.
    • Need to require them to do a resource proposal, which is evaluated by the FMG.
    • Need to be responsive and adaptive, notes Ron, but need to get something out there and make it visible.
    • Establishing a registry of extensions needed.
    • while FGB is assembling procedure/policy suggest FMG only grant SVN access to those with a formal role within HL7 and continue discussion with FMG on process. Lynn will draft a statement for review. Ewout asks if we assess the logins already in place - corollary question to FMG.
    • Ron and Lynn will parse through the list and expand on a bullet list to discuss next week.
  • From 20130522_FGB_concall
    • If major piece of work done for which we wish to give acknowledgement what does that look like? Otherwise that's what participation in HL7 is about, bringing your work (interoperability asset) drafted externally to the consensus group. HL7 must accept balloting and ongoing maintenance of that asset.
      • Bringing it to HL7 may relinquish rights, where HL7 may or may not use it, amend it for balloting, and so on.
      • Woody would like to assume the initial premise is that work done outside brought into HL7 is adopted just as other work done within HL7. Acknowledgement and thanks might be a different process. Third level is with an existing MOU for joint work where joint participation under the MOU such as with ISO might have dual voting. Fourth level is where the donator wishes to retain some control.
      • Ron cites V3 donations, with external entities developing significant contributions where they wish that their representation is the one that becomes standardized. However introduction to a consensus based standards organization must assume risk of change.
      • Austin notes they will be discussing this re:IHE on Friday.
      • Ron asks about the role of the authoritative SDO in JIC holds responsibility for development and maintenance of an asset, when balloted in other SDO has mutual endorsement of that work product. IHE looking to use the HL7 balloting pool as their extended member base.
      • Ron clarifies the contribution of resources to FHIR is not the same as the IHE model. Policy assertions basically restate Woody's notion. We are an accredited SDO and bringing content to HL7 these are the conditions that exist.
      • John notes it's a less-well-formed external contribution than CCOW was but the same principle applies.
      • Ron notes we need a statement of what it means to bring content to an accredited SDO. Subject to ballot process, thrown over the fence, or vested in the content and participating to represent their perspective.
      • Woody notes that anything brought in there is a predicate that a WG must sponsor that project and undertake the ballot. There must be resources to answer questions.
      • This raises the issue of a FHIR WG to be steward of the asset. Woody notes that if a resource comes in there must be a group assigned to review and sponsor its inclusion.
      • Woody notes that in 2005 they envisioned projects that would have the strength of a Work Group such as Clinical Statement, TermInfo, etc. Austin notes that balloting must be done by a WG, and reconciliation performed by the WG. TSC as the representation for the NIB, for the project is not an appropriate assignment. They could have their own concall passcode, web page, etc as an HL7 WG.
      • Should the FHIR project and NIB belong to MnM instead of TSC? Will they be responsible for reconciliation of resource material from other WGs?
      • Ron notes as a management exercise to ensure a ballot is completed and reconciliation performed, then MnM is the right 'Work Group'. FMG is really the group is where these things occur. Infrastructure reconciliation belongs in MnM space while resources may not. FMG delegated resources to other WGs to reconcile, notes Ewout.
      • FGB says 'this must be done', and FMG ensures that it happens. FMG would have to identify where the resource would land in the organization. Brian asks if FMG is sort of a supervisory 'group' with respect to resources. FMG has elements of a Work Group and elements of a Steering Division. Entry point to the organization for sourced content is the FMG. FMG must endure it has a landing point, that the contributor provides support through the first ballot, etc. Ewout adds that we expect FHIR to be extended by external resources but they must be willing to register them. Are we talking about core or extensions, asked Ron?
      • Registration of extensions as a form of contribution. Conformance assessment capability for consumers of FHIR assets should exist. Do you have core, extensions, and other related assets? Do you have core, and external resources? What is the HL7 responsibility if we have a registry of external resources and it's an unacceptable; if it's discoverable and FHIR -compliant it doesn't make it part of the standard.
      • Ron notes Grahame's intention was to ensure there weren't runaway extensions unmanaged by the core specification. How do we let people assert they have resources that are "FHIR-like". They may have an extension they register with HL7, not a balloted artifact.
      • Ron notes the Microsoft Flight Simulator which eventually became an open product still earns $$ for extensions and tooling around that asset. Entry-level conformance possibilities as mentioned by the vendors at the WGM due to the growing size of the specification further discussed.
      • What of external resources that HL7 would really like to add to the core set, asks Ewout. Woody suggests it is less likely to occur and we should address it when it arises.
      • Standard levels of conformance needed to enable interoperability between servers that support xyz pieces versus clients that support abc pieces, rather than a single all-encompassing conformance statement.

  • From 20130515_FGB_concall
    • How similar is this to the donation of FHIR to HL7?
    • Need to define role of participants in our FHIR open source specification.
    • Need a contribution agreement draft that can have different levels of encumbrances to be appropriate for policy and management going forward with the scope of the (Not just "no holds barred")
  • From 20130507 FGB WGM meeting
    • Operational metrics needed for current issues which revolve around vendors wishing more granularity, to others wanting to build their own resources, to those that wish to contribute their work to HL7.
    • Policy considerations for external contributions to FHIR:
      • If someone donates content definition, do they have the right to do so (IP issues)
        • Some of these issues will be things that HL7 HQ needs to be aware of and equipped to deal with (IP integrity and ownership issues, whether they have the right to give the IP to us)
        • There are precedents in other organizations that once you donate, it belongs to the receiving organization. This is incorporated in the governance and terms of membership (e.g. GS1)
        • There is a risk associated with having to retrospectively yield content.
      • External donations may (will) come with strings attached.
        • There will always be implications for the donating organization.
        • There needs to be a handover process. They have operational expertise and there needs to be a mediated handover. ACTION ITEM: Grahame will speak with the Executive Committee (EC) on setting the ground rules for accepting donations.
        • An alternative is to have a contributor publish under an open license. Thisis a tool under which these fundamental agreements may be executed
        • This may be a consideration for determining if an existing WG can deal with the contributed content or creating a new WG.
        • Whatever they donate must go through the "new resources" process. This includes a technical level evaluation
        • Need to address marketing of the concept and publicity considerations for the contributions.
  • From 20130505_FGB_WGM_meeting
    • what is the nature of conformance to FHIR achieves. FGB needs to weigh in. "Classic" HL7 folks want FHIR to work out of the box. Others look at is as a neat idea, and willing to extend it to do their own stuff. How do we respond to that as an organization. If you let people create their own resources it won't interoperate. On the other hand internal development not to interoperate with others.
    • Lloyd notes that preventing collisions between things that are created outside of HL7 is of concern. Discoverability of extensions is also important.
    • Brand preservation important to clarify when those who do implementations that go off the rail.

  • From 20130327_FGB_concall
    • we should circumscribe what HL7 is responsible for in an open standard. What do we leave to the market as well? Ron agrees we must evaluate the role of HL7 as steward and custodian of the standard versus what we allow the market to do. We don't have a feel for what that dividing line is, yet. Concern is maintaining coherence and consistency, protecting the brand and product family. Application of the standard is something we could leave to the market. Need to ensure the view of the product is protected but the use of the product is up to the market. Just the declaration of this approach might be enough to stimulate activity in the market place.