SOCIS Frequently-Asked Questions

The core of this document has been taken and adapted from the Google Summer of Code FAQ.


About SOCIS

  1. What is SOCIS?
  2. Is SOCIS related to Google's Summer of Code?
  3. What is the timeline of SOCIS?
  4. How does the program work?
  5. How do evaluations work?

Applying to SOCIS

  1. How does a mentoring organization apply?
  2. What should a mentoring organization application look like?
  3. What are the criteria for selecting a mentoring organization?
  4. What is an Ideas list?
  5. How does a student apply?
  6. How much are students paid?
  7. What should a student application look like?
  8. Can a student submit more than one application?
  9. Should students begin working on their applications before ESA begins accepting program applications?
  10. Can a student work on more than one project?
  11. Can a group apply for and work on a single proposal?
  12. What happens if two students are accepted to work on the same project, e.g. from an organization's Ideas list?

Mentoring organizations

  1. What is a mentoring organization?
  2. What is the role of a mentoring organization?
  3. What types of open source projects are targeted?
  4. Are mentoring organizations required to use the code produced?
  5. Will a student receive the stipend if the organization does not use her/his code?

Eligibility

  1. Are there any age restrictions on participating?
  2. Who's eligible to participate as a student in SOCIS?
  3. What are the eligibility requirements for mentoring organizations?
  4. What are the eligibility requirements for mentors?
  5. How much time is required to participate as a student in SOCIS?
  6. How much time is required to participate as a mentor in SOCIS?

Code

  1. Who owns the code produced by student developers?
  2. What licenses do I have choose from?

Payments, Forms and Other Administrivia

  1. How do payments work?
  2. Isn't it unusual for open source developers to be paid?
  3. What documentation is required from students?
  4. What documentation is required from students?

Other questions


About SOCIS

  1. What is SOCIS?
    It is the Summer of Code in Space of the European Space Agency. Check the about page.
  2. Is SOCIS related to Google's Summer of Code?
    No, SOCIS is an independent pilot program run by the European Space Agency. Although it has been inspired by Google's Summer of Code initiative, it is not related or affiliated to it.
  3. What is the timeline of SOCIS?
    See the program timeline.
  4. How does the program work?
    Here are the main steps:
    • Open source projects who'd like to participate in SOCIS should choose an organization administrator to represent them.
    • Organization administrators will submit the project's application for participation online.
    • If you’re not currently involved with an organization and want to be a mentor for the program, please contact that organization and speak to them about their mentor selection criteria.
    • ESA will notify the organization administrators of acceptance.
    • Students submit project proposals online to work with particular mentoring organizations.
    • Mentoring organizations rank student proposals and perform any other due diligence on their potential students; student proposals are matched with a mentor.
    • ESA allocates a particular number of student slots to each organization.
    • Mentoring Organizations make their final decision on which students to accept into the program.
    • Students are notified of acceptance.
    • Students begin learning more about their mentoring organization and its community before coding work starts.
    • Students begin coding work at the official start of the program, provided they've interacted well with their community up until the program start date.
    • Mentors provide a final evaluation of student progress at close of program; students submit a final review of their mentor and the program.
    • Student uploads completed code to an ESA software repository.
  5. How do evaluations work?
    ESA will pre-publish the evaluation questions for both students and mentors. Mentors will fill out final evaluations for their students via the SOCIS website. These evaluations will be sent to the mentors and the mentoring organization's administrator. Students will fill out a final evaluation of their mentors online as well, and their evaluations will be sent to the organization's administrator. Program administrators from ESA will have access to all evaluation data.

    In some cases, ESA's program administrators may need to share the results of evaluations with the student and mentor, such as to arbitrate when payment should not be made. Should this need arise, all parties will be notified in advance.

Applying to SOCIS

  1. How does a mentoring organization apply?
    The organization should choose a single administrator to submit its application via the SOCIS website (see the projects application form).
  2. What should a mentoring organization application look like?
    In addition to anything else your organization would like to submit as an application, ESA will be asking (at least) the following questions as part of the application process:
    • Describe your organization.
    • Why is your organization applying to participate in SOCIS? What do you hope to gain by participating?
    • What license(s) does your project use?
    • What is the URL for your Ideas page?
    • What is the main development mailing list for your organization?
    • What is the main IRC channel for your organization?
    • Who will be your backup organization administrator?
    • What criteria did you use to select these individuals as mentors? Please be as specific as possible.
    • What is your plan for dealing with disappearing students?
    • What is your plan for dealing with disappearing mentors?
    • What steps will you take to encourage students to interact with your project's community before, during and after the program?
    • What will you do to ensure that your accepted students stick with the project after SOCIS concludes?
  3. What are the criteria for selecting a mentoring organization?
    The selection of a mentoring organization is ultimately and unquestionably decided by ESA. The selection criteria adopted by ESA include (but are not limited to) the following:
    • level of activity in the project (e.g., mailing list, IRC, web pages, forums etc.),
    • quality of the proposed projects with respect to the goals of the activity (e.g., level of details provided, feasibility in the time frame of the program, etc.).
  4. What is an Ideas list?
    An Ideas list should be a list of suggested student projects. This list is meant to introduce contributors to your project's needs and to provide inspiration to would-be student applicants. It is useful to classify each idea as specifically as possible, e.g. "must know Python" or "easier project; good for a student with more limited experience with C++".
  5. How does a student apply?
    Students can submit their applications via the SOCIS website.
  6. How much are students paid?
    Student stipends amount to a total of 4000 Euros. 1000 Euros will be paid at the beginning of the coding period, provided that students are in good standing with their mentoring organizations. The remaining 3000 Euros will be paid at the end of the coding period, provided that the student's coding project was successful (as judged by the mentor).
  7. What should a student application look like?
    Your application should include the following: your project proposal, why you'd like to execute on this particular project, and the reason you're the best individual to do so. Your proposal should also include details of your academic, industry, and/or open source development experience, and other details as you see fit. An explanation of your development methodology is a good idea, as well. It is always helpful to include contact information, as well, as it will not be automatically shared with your would-be mentors as part of the application process.
  8. Can a student submit more than one application?
    Yes, but only one application will be accepted.
  9. Should students begin working on their applications before ESA begins accepting program applications?
    That's up to you. Keep in mind, though, that our mentoring organizations will be publishing a list of proposed project ideas, so you may find that you'll want to revamp your application later, or create an entirely new one to address one of those ideas.
  10. Can a student work on more than one project?
    No, each participant is only eligible for one stipend.
  11. Can a group apply for and work on a single proposal?
    No, only an individual may work on a given project.
  12. What happens if two students are accepted to work on the same project, e.g. from an organization's Ideas list?
    That's fine, a little duplication is par for the course in open source.

Mentoring organizations

  1. What is a mentoring organization?
    A group running an active free/open source software project, e.g. the Python Software Foundation. The project does not need to be a legally incorporated entity. Mentoring organizations must produce and release software under an Open Source Initiative approved license in order to participate in the program.
  2. What is the role of a mentoring organization?
    Each mentoring organization is expected to provide:
    • a pool of project ideas for students to choose from, publicly published by the mentoring organization as an Ideas list;
    • An organization administrator to act as the project's main point of contact for ESA;
    • A person or group responsible for review and ranking of student applications, both those proposals which tie into the org's Ideas list and "blue-sky" proposals;
    • A person or group of people responsible for monitoring the progress of each accepted student and to mentor her/him as the project progresses;
    • A person or group responsible for taking over for a student's assigned mentor in the event they are unable to continue mentoring, e.g. take a vacation, have a family emergency;
    • A written evaluation of each student participant, including how s/he worked with the group, whether s/he should be invited back should we do another SOCIS, etc.

    In addition to these responsibilities, a mentoring organization should actively encourage each student developer to participate in the project's community in whichever way makes the most sense for the project, be it development mailing lists, idling in the project's IRC channel, participating in the project's forum, etc. A truly successful mentoring organization will work diligently to ensure that as many of their students as possible remain active project participants long after the conclusion of the program.

  3. What types of open source projects are targeted?
    Many different types of open source projects are encouraged to participate in SOCIS. As long as your project can provide mentors, is releasing code under an Open Source Initiative approved license and you make clear its value for space, you are welcome and encouraged to apply.
  4. Are mentoring organizations required to use the code produced?
    No. While we hope that all the code that comes out of this program will find a happy home, we're not requiring organizations to use the students' code.
  5. Will a student receive the stipend if the organization does not use her/his code?
    As long as the goals listed in a student's accepted application are met according to the judgment of her/his mentoring organization, the student will receive the stipend whether or not the project uses the code produced.

Eligibility

  1. Are there any age restrictions on participating?
    Yes. You must be 18 years of age or older to be eligible to participate in SOCIS.
  2. Who's eligible to participate as a student in SOCIS?
    In order to participate in the program, you must be a student. For the purpose of this program, ESA defines a student as an individual enrolled in or accepted into an accredited institution including (but not necessarily limited to) colleges, universities, masters programs, PhD programs and undergraduate programs. The institution must be based in in one of the following states: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, Slovenia and Romania. You should be prepared, upon request, to provide ESA with transcripts or other documentation from your accredited institution as proof of enrollment or admission status. Computer Science does not need to be your field of study in order to participate in the program.

    Additionally, ESA will require organizations with multiple assigned students slots to select at least half of the students from ESA states: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, Slovenia and Romania. A scanned copy of passport, national ID card or equivalent document will be asked in the student's application form.

  3. What are the eligibility requirements for mentoring organizations?
    Mentor organizations must be organizations or individuals running an active and viable open source or free software project release under one or more of the OSI-approved free software/open source licenses.
  4. What are the eligibility requirements for mentors?
    ESA does not have specific eligibility requirements for mentors, as we know our mentoring organizations will be best able to determine the selection criteria for their mentors.
  5. How much time is required to participate as a student in SOCIS?
    The amount of time you will need depends on both the scope of your project and the requirements of your mentoring organization. While your organization may offer some flexibility around milestone completion dates, you should expect your project to be your primary focus this summer. If you have a great internship starting soon or you're planning a month long backpacking trip, you likely won't be a good candidate for the program.
  6. How much time is required to participate as a mentor in SOCIS?
    The answer to this question will vary widely depending on the number of students a mentor works with, the difficulty of the proposals, and the skill level of the students. Five hours per student per week is a reasonable estimate.

Code

  1. Who owns the code produced by student developers?
    Each student (or her/his mentoring organization) must license all student SOCIS code under an OSI-approved free software/open source license palatable to the mentoring organization. Some organizations will require students to assign copyright to them, but many will allow them to retain copyright.
  2. What licenses do I have choose from?
    That depends on your mentoring organization. All code created by student participants must be released under an OSI-approved free software/open source license. It's also extremely likely that your mentoring organization will have a preferred license(s) and that you will need to release your code under the license(s) chosen by that organization.

Payments, Forms and Other Administrivia

  1. How do payments work?
  2. Isn't it unusual for open source developers to be paid?
  3. What documentation is required from students?