Who connects with whom? A social network analysis of an online open source software community

Cuihua Shen, Peter Monge


By examining “who connects with whom” in an online community using social network analysis, this study tests the social drivers that shape the collaboration dynamics among a group of participants from SourceForge, the largest open source community on the Web. The formation of the online social network was explored by testing two distinct network attachment logics: strategic selection and homophily. Both logics received some support. Taken together, the results are suggestive of a “performance-based clustering” phenomenon within the OSS online community in which most collaborations involve accomplished developers, and novice developers tend to partner with less accomplished and less experienced peers.


online communities; social network analysis; peer production; motivation; open source

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v16i6.3551

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