Call for Papers

Join us for two days of discussion and learning about non-technical aspects of open source software development.

FOSS Backstage – taking place on 4th & 5th March 2024 in Berlin – is an open platform and we thrive on your contributions. Together with our dedicated program committee we want to shape a program that truly is “by the community for the community”. Therefore we are looking forward to your input.

We are looking for talks which educate others on the best practices in open source project leadership, community management, open source project metrics, open source strategy for enterprise, adopting open source collaboration in corporations, legal matters when dealing with open source and many more. For inspiration you can have a look at the recordings of past editions of FOSS Backstage.

Here are some example questions that might be discussed at FOSS backstage and might inspire your proposal:

  • What are best practices for teams scattered around the world?
  • How can an Open Source business model look like?
  • How to grow and maintain your open source communities and allies?
  • How to manage your relationship to those stakeholders and what role do OSPOs have in this?
  • What is the role of design in good open source projects?
  • What are your favourite tools and procedures for working in open source projects?
  • How to manage upstream dependencies from a legal and security point of view?

Related topics not explicitly listed above are of course welcome as well. We do not, however, accept product presentations or company marketing pitches. If you are seeking to market your company at FOSS Backstage, we’ll be delighted to send you our sponsoring prospectus and discuss all the benefits that a sponsorship entails. Please reach out to Paul at to learn more.


Talks at FOSS Backstage are sorted into different thematic tracks. To give you an idea of the types of talks we are looking for we have listed our current line up of tracks below:

Governance & Community

This encompasses all community and project management aspects of Open Source Projects. This includes InnerSource and OSPOs, DevRel and more.

Sustainability & Funding

How can Open Source projects be economically feasible? What models for funding are there?

Legal & Compliance

Everything about the legal aspects of Open Source projects, such as licencing, copyright law and liability questions.

Diversity & Inclusion

This track is for all talks that are about Diversity & Inclusivity in Open Source projects specifically, problems and possible solutions, how to increase outreach, and more. We are also looking for talks about accessibility in Open Source, for example accessible technical documentation, technical means or technologies that increase accessibility such as screen readers, subtitles, and more.

Growing Open Source

This Track is about how to increase awareness and adoption of Open Source in corporations, businesses as well as in government and public entities.


How can rules and procedures in an FOSS project benefit it's security?


We are offering the the following formats at FOSS Backstage:

Talk (30 min)

Talks are the standard session format at FOSS Backstage. You present your topic in front of the audience within 30min. Please include time for Q&A.

Workshop (60 min)

Workshops are an interactive format with require active audience participation during the session. Usually all participants of a workshop will have worked on a task at the end of the session.

Panel (40 min)

Panels are onstage discussions between a group of experts. Please provide contact details for all participants of your panel when submitting a panel discussion in our CfP.

Off Stage

This could be a piece of art, a performance or a hardware demonstration that doesn't need to be presented on a stage.

Remote sessions

We do offer the possibility to hold talks remotely for people who can’t travel to Berlin. If you choose to hold your session remotely, it will be streamed live to our online event platform and to one of our stages at our venue in Berlin. Please note that due to budgetary constraints, remote speaking slots are limited.

Rules & Guidelines

If you want to submit your proposal for FOSS Backstage, please consider the following:

  • We don‘t allow product presentations or company marketing pitches.
  • You are not allowed to switch the topic or content of the talk after the CfP submission period is over, except for in emergencies. If the topic is swapped after the CfP is concluded, the talk needs to be reviewed by the program committee again.
  • All Cospeakers have to be declared before the CfP submission period ends. Cospeakers that are added after the CfP is concluded do not receive free conference tickets and we reserve the right to reject the addition of cospeakers after the CfP.
  • We require direct email contact to our speakers for planing purposes.
  • By submitting your proposal, you consent that your talk title and description along with your photo and biography will be made publicly available, if your session is accepted. Talks will be recorded and recordings will be made publicly available on our YouTube-Channel.
  • Due to budgetary constraints, we cannot cover costs for travel or accommodation for our speakers.

Make sure you take the following guidelines to heart:

  • Titles should be descriptive and must be less than 60 characters long.
  • The abstract and talk description is the most important part of your proposal, since talks will be rated by our program committee on the basis of those. A good abstract contains a focused description of your talk and explains why your topic is relevant.
  • The talk description is a more detailed look into your session: What will you be talking about? What will the audience learn? etc
  • Please don’t include your biography or personal details in your abstract, since personal information will be removed before the review process starts to avoid bias.
  • Title and abstract of your talk will be visible to everyone and will be used on our talk description pages if your proposal is accepted, so be sure to write a clear and concise abstract in full sentences and don’t just use bullet points.


All submissions will be reviewed blindly, meaning that the program committee is unable to see the submitter’s personal details. Only the title of the talk and the describing abstract will be visible to the reviewers in order to reduce unconscious bias. After all talks are rated, we will inform you about the status of your submission. Talks can either be accepted, rejected or waitlisted. In case your talk is waitlisted, we will message you if a speaking slot opens up before the conference.

First time speakers

Please don’t hesitate to submit your proposal if you haven’t spoken at FOSS Backstage before. We are always looking for new and exciting topics and speakers, and want to grow a community at FOSS Backstage that is open to new people and ideas, and therefore explicitly encourage first-time speakers to submit their proposals.

If you need help with the CfP process or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at

Speaker perks

As a speaker at FOSS Backstage you will of course get a free conference pass for the entire duration of the conference. If you already bought a ticket before your talk was accepted, we will refund the ticket you bought.


We are looking for talks, workshops & lightning talks on all topics governance, collaboration, legal and economics within the scope of FOSS. Your submissions will go through a blind review by our program committee. We will inform you about the status of your session as soon as the review process is concluded.

In case you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us at

You can enter proposals until 2023-11-19 23:59 (Europe/Brussels).