University of Cincinnati Lindner College of Business

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Open source project success: Resource access, flow, and integration

Author(s): Sherae Daniel, Katherine Stewart

Status: Published
Year: 2016
Publication Name: Journal of Strategic Information Systems
Volume: 25, Issue: 3, Page Number(s): 159-176


Open source software projects share key resources including knowledge and developer attention. Developers who participate on multiple projects create ties among projects and facilitate access to those projects’ resources. However, projects also compete for developer attention, and they vary in their ability to integrate knowledge. This paper explores how factors that facilitate knowledge integration (low software coupling and high interactive discussion) impact project success and how developers’ attention to external projects may dampen a focal project’s success. Further, we explore how these factors may moderate the positive impact of a project’s network degree centrality to develop a more nuanced model of their influences on project success. Using data from 175 OSS projects we find that software coupling, interactive discussion and externally focused developer attention directly impact completed code commits. Interactive discussion also amplifies the benefit of high network degree centrality, while developers’ external attention weakens the positive impact of high network degree centrality. Results add to theory by providing a more nuanced view of how key strategic resources (knowledge and attention) drive OSS success. In particular it describes how knowledge integration ability, developer attention, and network degree centrality interact to influence project outcomes.


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