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Dawn Foster, Guido Conaldi, Riccardo De Vita
University of Greenwich
Centre for Business Network Analysis
Presented at the Third European Conference on Social Networks (EUSN) Mainz, Germany on 27 September 2017
This study investigates collaboration in an open source software community using proximity theory as the theoretical lens with social network analysis and modeling of activities over time to predict collaboration.
Actors in this study are part of the Linux kernel community where they collaborate on one or more sub-projects using mailing lists as the primary method of collaboration. Collaboration occurs in real-time between actors that contribute to multiple sub-projects, work for firms that pay them to contribute to the Linux kernel, and are working virtually from locations across the globe. This complex setting can be better understood by using several dimensions of proximity: organizational, cognitive, institutional, social, and geographical. Collaboration is analysed using data from source code contributions and mailing list participation.
Open source software is developed in the open where anyone can view the source code and anyone with the knowledge to do so can contribute to the project. With no central group responsible for coordination of tasks, collaboration on the development of this software is emergent. Because people from around the world work on these projects together using online tools with publicly accessible interactions between people, it is a relevant setting for using social network analysis to understand and model network relationships.