Cross-disciplinary Participation in Open Source Communities
London School of Economics, Management Department
Open Source (OS) development communities behave differently from other technical groups in their practices, goals, capacity utilisation and innovative outputs. This proposal explores how OS communities including users and software professionals interact, share information and build local knowledge that can potentially leverage open code development and extend the capacities of its participants. This proposal contributes to understanding the foundations of crossdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge production online and how they can guarantee sustainable open code development. More importantly it provides a research methodology that taps into large open data repositories and the micro-histories of OS communities to unravel the social dynamics of members’ interactions and open code development over time. This methodology combines visualization with qualitative research in order to create a platform for exploration that allows social scientists to dig deeper in the data, identifying relevant patterns and pertinent mechanisms of social behaviour online.