Knowledge Flows Within Open Source Software Projects: A Social Network Perspective

TitleKnowledge Flows Within Open Source Software Projects: A Social Network Perspective
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsKerzazi, Noureddine, and El Asri Ikram
Secondary AuthorsEl-Azouzi, Rachid, Menasche Daniel Sadoc, Sabir Essaïd, De Pellegrini Francesco, and Benjillali Mustapha
Secondary TitleAdvances in Ubiquitous Networking 2: Proceedings of the UNet'16
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Place PublishedSingapore
ISBN Number978-981-10-1627-1
Keywordsexpertise, Knowledge flows, open source, SNA

Developing software is knowledge-intensive activity, requiring extensive technical knowledge and awareness. The abstract part of development is the social interactions that drive knowledge flows between contributors, especially for Open Source Software (OSS). This study investigated knowledge sharing and propagation from social perspective using social network analysis (SNA). We mined and analyzed the issue and review histories of three OSS from GitHub. Particular attention has been paid to the socio-interactions through comments from contributors on reviews. We aim at explaining the propagation and density of knowledge flows within contributor networks. The results show that review requests flow from the core contributors toward peripheral contributors and comments on reviews are in a continuous loop from the core teams to the peripherals and back; and the core contributors leverage on their awareness and technical knowledge to increase their notoriety by playing the role of communication brokers supported by comments on work items.