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Linchpin Developers in Open Source Software Projects

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In Open Source Software (OSS) development, the so-called linchpin developers are those that contribute contemporaneously to several projects, contributing to keeping the community tied together. While such developers have been identified in previous research, their importance within the OSS community has not been widely discussed. The main objective of this work is to analyze their “weaving” role across projects. With this aim, we mined software repositories, using text mining techniques as log-likehood ratio and co-word analysis, further building social networks of developers within emerging communities. The findings show that linchpin developers generally attach in a preferential way to projects in a single specific domain. They tend to be more “project managers”, and “all-hands-persons”, meaning that they bring multi-disciplinary experience across projects. They tend to cover the same role across projects. They generally have high centrality in their projects, and contribute to create projects that ease the transition from a fragmented projects community to a more core-periphery community.
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... Toral et al. also found that the number of brokers was associated with the centrality of the team; that is, the more connected the entire team was, the less knowledge brokers were necessary. Corona et al. [29] looked at the roles of knowledge brokers in multiple projects and found that they tended to have the same role across any projects they worked on. It was also found that developers tended to be knowledge brokers across similar spaces, and developers working in vastly different spaces are rare. ...
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