Presentations and publications about the work of maintaining free & open-source software

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Over the past few years, our team has been working on a few interrelated research projects about the work of maintaining Free & Open-Source Software (FOSS) projects. For more information about our project, read this blog post we wrote when we first received our research grant from the Ford & Sloan Foundations. Our team is an interdisciplinary mix tackling these issues from qualitative and quantitative perspectives, and many of us have also been maintainers of various FOSS projects:


One-page summary of research and recommendations (PDF link)



  • R. Stuart Geiger, Dorothy Howard, and Lilly Irani. 2021. The Labor of Maintaining and Scaling Free and Open-Source Software Projects. Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact. 5, CSCW1, Article 175 (April 2021), 28 pages.

  • Geiger, R.S., Varoquaux, N., Mazel-Cabasse, C., and Holdgraf, C. “The Types, Roles, and Practices of Documentation in Data Analytics Open Source Software Libraries.” Computer Supported Cooperative Work (JCSCW) 27, 767–802 (2018).

  • Paxton, A., Varoquaux, N., Holdgraf, C. and Geiger, R.S. (2022), Community, Time, and (Con)text: A Dynamical Systems Analysis of Online Communication and Community Health among Open-Source Software Communities. Cognitive Science, 46: e13134.