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Welcome to Berkman Center Google Summer of Code 2016

What is GSoC?

Basically, it's where you spend your summer writing code for awesome open source projects:

Google Summer of Code is a global program focused on introducing students to open source software development. Students work on a 3 month programming project with an open source organization during their break from university.

Since its inception in 2005, the program has brought together almost 11,000 student participants and 10,000 mentors from over 113 countries worldwide. Google Summer of Code has produced over 50 million lines of code for 515 open source organizations.

As a part of Google Summer of Code, student participants are paired with a mentor from the participating organizations, gaining exposure to real-world software development and techniques. Students have the opportunity to spend the break between their school semesters earning a stipend while working in areas related to their interests.

In turn, the participating organizations are able to identify and bring in new developers who implement new features and hopefully continue to contribute to open source even after the program is over. Most importantly, more code is created and released for the use and benefit of all

The official GSoC 2016 homepage describes how it works and what it involves.

The GSoC Wikipedia entry also includes some interesting background information.

Who are we?

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University was founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development. We represent a network of faculty, students, fellows, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and virtual architects working to identify and engage with the challenges and opportunities of cyberspace.

We investigate the real and possible boundaries in cyberspace between open and closed systems of code, of commerce, of governance, and of education, and the relationship of law to each. We do this through active rather than passive research, believing that the best way to understand cyberspace is to actually build out into it.

Our faculty, fellows, students, and affiliates engage with a wide spectrum of Net issues, including governance, privacy, intellectual property, antitrust, content control, and electronic commerce. Our diverse research interests cohere in a common understanding of the Internet as a social and political space where constraints upon inhabitants are determined not only through the traditional application of law, but, more subtly, through technical architecture ("code").

As part of our active research mission, we build, use, and freely share open software platforms for free online lectures and discussions. We also sponsor gatherings, ranging from informal lunches to international conferences, that bring together members of our diverse network of participants to swap insights – and sometimes barbs – as they stake out their respective visions for what the Net can become. We also teach, seeking out online and global opportunities, as well as supporting the traditional Harvard Law School curriculum, often in conjunction with other Harvard schools and MIT.

Read more about the Berkman Center at our homepage.

Contact Us

We prefer email, though also run an IRC channel.
IRC: irc:// IRC logs here

Project Opportunities

There are several GSoC 2016 projects at the Berkman Center:

Loosely Defined

CLA Commons

Do you think Contributor License Agreements (CLAs) are confusing? What if there were a way to make the equivalent of what Creative Commons is for Copyright for CLAs? The aim of this project is to do just that. Partnering lawyers, researchers and technologists at Harvard Law School and beyond to come up with good and useful technology and law.

Tighter Defined


LibraryBox [1]: an open source offline digital distribution tool that uses inexpensive hardware to enable localized sharing of content.

Question Tool

A tool for asking and voting on questions during events or classes.


Lumen [2] is a website, database and research project studying cease and desist letters concerning online content.


Book-a-Nook is an online tool to activate community spaces, with a particular focus on libraries.


Dotplot is a visualization that allows one to tell a story about data.


Curricle aims at developing a lively, interactive, playful mode of navigating curricular programming and choices not as catalogue than as the experience of a landscape of intersecting ways.

Internet Monitor

Internet Monitor's [3] aim is to evaluate, describe, and summarize the means, mechanisms, and extent of Internet content controls and Internet activity around the world.


TagTeam [4] is a versatile, open-source social-tagging platform and feed aggregator.


An app focused on increasing the participation and sustainability of commons-based peer production communities.


The first full-stack framework for developing decentralized real-time collaborative apps in JavaScript/Java/Android

How to Apply

Applications open March 14, 2016 at 15:00 (EDT) / 19:00 (UTC). You must submit your application via GSoC: We will not be able to accept or process any application in any other way. Please use the below application template when submitting your application.

All proposals must be submitted by March 25, 2016 at 15:00 (EDT) / 19:00 (UTC). We will not be able to accept or process any application in any other way.

Application Template

Application template for GSoC 2017. This is the preferred template for submitting your application to work on a Berkman Center project.


Answers to commonly asked questions. This includes a set of requirements around working hours, who can apply, other commitments you might have for the summer. Please read!