invitation to participate in Social Network Analysis of Gnome Foundation as part of PhD research

Dear all,

My name is Evangelia Berdou and I am a PhD student at the London School of Economics.

*Over the next few days, most of you will receive an email inviting  you to answer 6 simple questions. Completing the questionnaire will only take 1 minute of your time. These questions form the basis of the last part of my research which consists of a Social Network Analysis (SNA) study.

*The survey aims to examine what the networks of the members of the Gnome Foundation and KDE e.V. look like in terms of:
a. their contribution in different areas of development
b. their sponsorship by companies or other types of organizations
c. their participation in major offline project events -(GUADEC and KDE aKademy)
d. their geographical location.

*The survey complements interviews that I have been conducting  during the last couple of years with Gnome and KDE contributors about the dynamics of cooperation and participation in mature open source projects. The questionnaire was distributed to Foundation members in GUADEC/ Stuttgart and the response rate was great. It is, however, important for me to gain a more comprehensive view of the Foundation network than the one that is based on this year's GUADEC participants.

*The collected data will remain anonymous and the results will be posted on the web.  I will be also giving a 75$ gift voucher from to a lucky respondent, whose name I will announce on the list. For more information regarding the framework of my research and the aims of the SNA study see the attached document.

I hope you will  find 1 minute of your time to fill in and return my questionnaire :)

Thanks in advance,

The research focuses not on the workings of the code, but on the dynamics of cooperation and coordination in mature free/open source projects.

The working title of the research is: "The cathedral and the bazaar revisited: meshworks of power and organization, peripheral and central participation in mature free/open source projects"

Some of the main themes of the study include:
a) relations between coders and non-coders
b) the role of paid contributors 
c) integration of new contributors. 

The two primary case studies of the research are the Gnome and KDE project. The research  considers free/open source projects not as closed systems that lack historical and material connections with the offline world, but as hybrid forms of organization that have yet to reach a final form. The three sets of relations that are examined within the context of the research (coders-non coders, volunteers-paid contributors, new and experienced contributors) highlight the complex interdependencies that develop between actors at different levels of interaction.

The Social Network Analysis Study aims to examine what the network of the members of the Gnome Foundation and KDE e.V. looks like in terms of:
a. their contribution in different areas of development
b. their sponsorship by companies or other types of organization
c. their participation in major offline project events -GUADEC
d. their geographical location.

Some of the questions that I would like to answer here are:
a. How integrated are the sub-networks of coders and non-coders both in terms of contributions in overlapping areas and through participation in major project events?
b. In what areas of Gnome/KDE development are paid developers primarily contributing ?
c. How dispersed is the network of members geographically and are there any significant differences between coders and non-coders?

These are all issues that emerged through the first stage of the study that consisted primarily of interviews with a wide sample of contributors.

The study focuses on the Gnome Foundation and KDE e.V. both for substantive and for practical reasons. These are bodies that have a say in the development of the project and their  boundaries are well-defined (an important point for SNA).

Evangelia Berdou, BA Hons, MSc
PhD Candidate
Dept. of Media and Communications-Media lse
London School of Economics and Political Science
Houghton Street
London W2A 2AE

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