Online division of labour: emergent structures in Open Source Software

Authors : María J. Palazzi, Jordi Cabot, Javier Luis Cánovas Izquierdo, Albert Solé-Ribalta, Javier Borge-Holthoefer

The development Open Source Software fundamentally depends on the participation and commitment of volunteer developers to progress. Several works have presented strategies to increase the on-boarding and engagement of new contributors, but little is known on how these diverse groups of developers self-organise to work together.

To understand this, one must consider that, on one hand, platforms like GitHub provide a virtually unlimited development framework: any number of actors can potentially join to contribute in a decentralised, distributed, remote, and asynchronous manner.

On the other, however, it seems reasonable that some sort of hierarchy and division of labour must be in place to meet human biological and cognitive limits, and also to achieve some level of efficiency.

These latter features (hierarchy and division of labour) should translate into recognisable structural arrangements when projects are represented as developer-file bipartite networks.

In this paper we analyse a set of popular open source projects from GitHub, placing the accent on three key properties: nestedness, modularity and in-block nestedness -which typify the emergence of heterogeneities among contributors, the emergence of subgroups of developers working on specific subgroups of files, and a mixture of the two previous, respectively.

These analyses show that indeed projects evolve into internally organised blocks. Furthermore, the distribution of sizes of such blocks is bounded, connecting our results to the celebrated Dunbar number both in off- and on-line environments.

Our analyses create a link between bio-cognitive constraints, group formation and online working environments, opening up a rich scenario for future research on (online) work team assembly.


Les business models de l’édition open source : Le cas des logiciels

Authors : Amel Charleux, Anne Mione

Cette recherche identifie les business models (BM) mis en œuvre par les éditeurs de logiciels libres et open source. Ces modèles requièrent une approche originale des BM parce que la création de la valeur dépend de l’attractivité du projet auprès de contributeurs dont le nombre, la qualité et la diversité ne sont pas contrôlés.

Cette spécificité pose la question du partage d’une valeur qui ne peut pas être anticipée ni formellement négociée. Nous procédons à une analyse quantitative de près de 200 logiciels et réalisons une taxonomie par la méthode TwoStep Cluster. Nos résultats mettent au jour quatre BM, engagement, exploration, expertise et optimisation.


Content is King: An Analysis of How the Twitter Discourse Surrounding Open Education Unfolded From 2009 to 2016

Authors : Michael Paskevicius, George Veletsianos, Royce Kimmons

Inspired by open educational resources, open pedagogy, and open source software, the openness movement in education has different meanings for different people. In this study, we use Twitter data to examine the discourses surrounding openness as well as the people who participate in discourse around openness.

By targeting hashtags related to open education, we gathered the most extensive dataset of historical open education tweets to date (n = 178,304 tweets and 23,061 users) and conducted a mixed methods analysis of openness from 2009 to 2016.

Findings show that the diversity of participants has varied somewhat over time and that the discourse has predominantly revolved around open resources, although there are signs that an increase in interest around pedagogy, teaching, and learning is emerging.

URL : Content is King: An Analysis of How the Twitter Discourse Surrounding Open Education Unfolded From 2009 to 2016


The openness buzz in the knowledge economy: Towards taxonomy

Authors : Anna Lundgren, Hans Westlund

In the networked information and knowledge-based economy and society, the notions of ‘open’ and ‘openness’ are used in a variety of contexts; open source, open access, open economy, open government, open innovation – just to name a few.

This paper aims at discussing openness and developing a taxonomy that may be used to analyse the concept of openness. Are there different qualities of openness? How are these qualities interrelated?

What analytical tools may be used to understand openness? In this paper four qualities of openness recurrent in literature and debate are explored: accessibility, transparency, participation and sharing. To further analyse openness new institutional theory as interpreted by Williamson (2000) is used, encompassing four different institutional levels; cultural embeddedness, institutional environment, governance structure and resource allocations.

At what institutional levels is openness supported and/or constrained? Accessibility as a quality of openness seems to have a particularly strong relation to the other qualities of openness, whereas the notions of sharing and collaborative economics seem to be the most complex and contested quality of openness in the knowledge-based economy.

This research contributes to academia, policy and governance, as handling of challenges with regard to openness vs. closure in different contexts, territorial, institutional and/or organizational, demand not only a better understanding of the concept, but also tools for analysis.


Le contrôle des communs numériques à des fins commerciales : le cas des logiciels libres

Auteur/Author : Stéphane Couture

Cet article aborde les formes de contrôle des biens communs par des entreprises commerciales en étudiant le cas des logiciels libres. Les logiciels libres sont des logiciels dont le code source est librement accessible, et peut être modifié et partagé.

Cette éthique de partage a permis l’émergence d’un modèle collaboratif souvent présenté comme l’exemple type des « communs numériques ». Cependant, de plus en plus d’entreprises participent aujourd’hui au développement des logiciels libres.

Si plusieurs analystes voient d’un bon œil cette contribution commerciale, d’autres font ressortir les formes de contrôle que ces entreprises mettent en place pour tirer profit des communs en logiciels libres.

En recensant différentes études sur ces questions et en analysant plus précisément les cas de Symfony et de Redhat, deux logiciels libres fortement développés par des entreprises commerciales, le présent article s’attarde sur ces formes de contrôle des communs numériques et en fait ressortir les conséquences éthiques.


How open science helps researchers succeed

Authors : Erin C McKiernan,  Philip E Bourne, C Titus Brown, Stuart Buck, Amye Kenall, Jennifer Lin, Damon McDougall, Brian A Nosek, Karthik Ram, Courtney K Soderberg, Jeffrey R Spies, Kaitlin Thaney, Andrew Updegrove, Kara H Woo, Tal Yarkoni

Open access, open data, open source and other open scholarship practices are growing in popularity and necessity. However, widespread adoption of these practices has not yet been achieved.One reason is that researchers are uncertain about how sharing their work will affect their careers.

We review literature demonstrating that open research is associated with increases in citations, media attention, potential collaborators, job opportunities and funding opportunities. These findings are evidence that open research practices bring significant benefits to researchers relative to more traditional closed practices.

URL : How open science helps researchers succeed


Fifty shades of open

Open source. Open access. Open society. Open knowledge. Open government. Even open food. The word “open” has been applied to a wide variety of words to create new terms, some of which make sense, and some not so much.

This essay disambiguates the many meanings of the word “open” as it is used in a wide range of contexts.