Identifying Knowledge Brokers that Yield Software Engineering Knowledge in OSS Projects

TitleIdentifying Knowledge Brokers that Yield Software Engineering Knowledge in OSS Projects
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsSowe, SK, Stamelos, I, Angelis, L
Secondary TitleInformation and Software Technology
Date Published11/2006
Keywordsdebian, email, email archives, expertise, knowledge sharing, mailing list, project success, social network analysis

Much research on open source software development concentrates on developer lists and other software repositories to investigate what motivates professional software developers to participate in open source software projects. Little attention has been paid to individuals who spend valuable time in lists helping participants on some mundane yet vital project activities. Using three Debian lists as a case study we investigate the impact of knowledge brokers and their associated activities in open source projects. Social network analysis was used to visualize how participants are affiliated with the lists. The network topology reveals substantial community participation. The consequence of collaborating in mundane activities for the success of open source software projects is discussed. The direct beneficiaries of this research are in the identification of knowledge experts in open source software projects.


Uses the Debian mailing lists "kde", "mentor", and "user".
the collection period was from January 2001 to September 2004

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