Communication In Innovation Communities: An Analysis Of 100 Open Source Software Projects

Markus Michael Geipel, Kerstin Press and Frank Schweitzer

ACS - Advances in Complex Systems (2014)


We develop a model of innovation communities which allows us to address in a systematic way the influence of users and developers as well as communication between and within these groups. Based on this model, we derive a formal approach to quantify communication flows, community activity and community turnover. These measures are calculated using the data of 100 open source software projects. Our empirical analysis shows that: (i) Users play indeed a predominant role in communication, which points towards the vivid role of an active user community; (ii) communication is highly concentrated, which points towards the importance of active individuals and (iii) community turnover exhibits only little correlation with community segregation, which may allow to benefit from high turnover rates while keeping negative effects small. We argue that insight from this extensive analysis not only complements existing case studies, it also provides a reference frame to put these singular results into perspective when aiming at generalizations.