Open source software development and Lotka's Law: Bibliometric patterns in programming
Article first published online: 10 DEC 2002
Copyright © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Volume 54, Issue 2, pages 169–178, 15 January 2003
How to Cite
Newby, G. B., Greenberg, J. and Jones, P. (2003), Open source software development and Lotka's Law: Bibliometric patterns in programming. J. Am. Soc. Inf. Sci., 54: 169–178. doi: 10.1002/asi.10177
- Issue published online: 3 JAN 2003
- Article first published online: 10 DEC 2002
- Manuscript Accepted: 28 MAR 2002
- Manuscript Revised: 7 MAR 2002
- Manuscript Received: 5 OCT 2001
This research applies Lotka's Law to metadata on open source software development. Lotka's Law predicts the proportion of authors at different levels of productivity. Open source software development harnesses the creativity of thousands of programmers worldwide, is important to the progress of the Internet and many other computing environments, and yet has not been widely researched. We examine metadata from the Linux Software Map (LSM), which documents many open source projects, and Sourceforge, one of the largest resources for open source developers. Authoring patterns found are comparable to prior studies of Lotka's Law for scientific and scholarly publishing. Lotka's Law was found to be effective in understanding software development productivity patterns, and offer promise in predicting aggregate behavior of open source developers.