Self-Organization Patterns in Wasp and Open Source Communities

TitleSelf-Organization Patterns in Wasp and Open Source Communities
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsValverde, S, Theraulaz, G, Gautrais, J, Fourcassie, V, Sole, RV
Secondary TitleIEEE Intelligent Systems
Pagination36 - 40
Date Published03/2006
ISSN Number1541-1672
Keywordsagents, decentralization, developers, email, email archives, flossmole, hierarchy, labor division, organization, self-organizing teams, social network analysis, social networks, sourceforge, teams, wasps

In this paper, we conducted a comparative study of how social organization takes place in a wasp colony and OSS developer communities. Both these systems display similar global organization patterns, such as hierarchies and clear labor divisions. As our analysis shows, both systems also define interacting agent networks with similar common features that reflect limited information sharing among agents. As far as we know, this is the first research study analyzing the patterns and functional significance of these systems' weighted-interaction networks. By illuminating the extent to which self-organization is responsible for patterns such as hierarchical structure, we can gain insight into the origins of organization in OSS communities.


"To investigate such claims, we studied an OSS community’s social network from a dataset describing the email activity of 120 different software teams"
"Our test data originated from Sourceforge (, a large open source project repository, and included communi- ties ranging from very small networks with one or two members to large networks with thousands of members."
"we limited our consideration to email traffic associated with bug fixes and bug reporting. As other researchers have shown[5] this email subset allows an effective reconstruction of the software community’s social network."
"We thank Kevin Crowston and James Howison for making their software data publicly available."

Short TitleIEEE Intell. Syst.
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