The Meso-level Structure of F/OSS Collaboration Network: Local Communities and Their Innovativeness

Abstract : Social networks in Free/Open Source Software (F/OSS) have been usually analyzed at the level of the single project e.g., [6], or at the level of a whole ecology of projects, e.g., [33]. In this paper, we also investigate the social network generated by developers who collaborate to one or multiple F/OSS projects, but we focus on the less-studied meso-level structure emerging when applying to this network a community-detection technique. The network of 'communities' emerging from this analysis links sub-groups of densely connected developers, sub-groups that are smaller than the components of the network but larger than the teams working on single projects. Our results reveal the complexity of this meso-level structure, where several dense sub-groups of developers are connected by sparse collaboration among different sub-groups. We discuss the theoretical implications of our findings with reference to the wider literature on collaboration networks and potential for innovation. We argue that the observed empirical meso-structure in F/OSS collaboration network resembles that associated to the highest levels of innovativeness.
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Guido Conaldi, Francesco Rullani. The Meso-level Structure of F/OSS Collaboration Network: Local Communities and Their Innovativeness. 6th International IFIP WG 2.13 Conference on Open Source Systems,(OSS), May 2010, Notre Dame, United States. pp.42-52, ⟨10.1007/978-3-642-13244-5_4⟩. ⟨hal-01056024⟩

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