A quantitative study of social organisation in open source software communities

Marcelo Serrano Zanetti, Emre Sarigol, Ingo Scholtes, Claudio Juan Tessone and Frank Schweitzer

In Proceedings of the 2012 Imperial College Computing Student Workshop (2012)


The success of open source projects crucially depends on the voluntary contributions of a suf - ficiently large community of users. Apart from the mere size of the community, interestingquestions arises when looking at the evolution of structural features of collaborations betweencommunity members. In this article, we discuss several network analytic proxies that can beused to quantify different aspects of the social organisation in social collaboration networks. Weparticularly focus on measures that can be related to the cohesiveness of the communities, thedistribution of responsibilities and the resilience against turnover of community members. Wepresent a comparative analysis on a large - scale data set that covers the full history of collabor - ations between users of 14 major open source software communities. Our analysis covers bothaggregate and time - evolving measures and highlights differences in the social organisation acrosscommunities. We argue that our results are a promising first step towards the definition ofsuitable, potentially multi - dimensional, resilience and risk indicators for open source softwarecommunities.