Returns from social capital in open source software networks

TitleReturns from social capital in open source software networks
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsMéndez-Durón, R, García, CE
Secondary TitleJournal of Evolutionary Economics
Pagination277 - 295
Date Published4/2009
ISSN Number1432-1386
Keywordscontributors, developers, games, gpl, project success, roles, social capital, social network analysis, social networks, sourceforge, srda, teams

Open Source Software projects base their operation on a collaborative structure for knowledge exchange in the form of provision or reception of information, expertise, and feedback on the creation of source code. Here, we address the direction of these knowledge flows among projects throughout social networks and their impact on project success. We identify the roles of membership or contribution that individuals play within projects. We found that connections through contributors who bring their knowledge to the project, improve project success, and that connection through members, who transfer their knowledge towards other projects, enhance project success. Finally, we found that ties through shared membership and contributions hamper project success. The analysis of knowledge flows and their impact on project success imply a translation of returns from investment in social capital, where investment takes the shape of knowledge flows and the returns mean the projects' diffusion over the network.


"The data we use in this analysis come from the Research Data (Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Notre Dame)." "Particularly, our dataset is a sub-sample of 2,962 valid observations over twelve months of projects aimed at developing games’ software. To get this sample, we look at the monthly dumps of data and select all projects that belong to the category of GNU Public License (GPL) [6]. "
dependent variable: performance (number of downloads); independent variable: social network ("Here we measure ties among projects through the individuals’ member and contributor roles at projects on the network over time.)

Short TitleJ Evol Econ
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