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Exploring knowledge loss in open source software (OSS) projects

Rashid , Mehvish and Clarke, Paul and O'Connor, Rory (2017) Exploring knowledge loss in open source software (OSS) projects. In: 17th International Conference on Software Process Improvement and Capability dEtermination (SPICE 2017), 4-5 Oct 2017, Palma de Mallorca, Spain. ISBN 978-3-319-67383-7

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Open Source Software is a term used to identify software developed and released under an “open source” license, meaning that under certain conditions; it is openly available for use, inspection, modification, and for redistribution free of cost (or with cost based on the license agreement). Incorporation of OSS while developing software can reduce time and cost of development. The nature of the work force (volunteers and paid) in OSS projects is transient and results in high turnover leading to knowledge loss. In this work, we explore the phenomenon of knowledge loss in OSS projects. Maintenance of OSS projects requires knowledge, typically shared asynchronously using technology-mediated channels. Knowledge sought in this manner is reactive in the sense that a developer will consult these channels looking for possible solutions or supporting information. We follow the backward snowballing to study the relevant literature on knowledge loss in OSS. Our work suggests that proactive knowledge exchange mechanisms may bring some benefits to OSS projects. Further integration of knowledge management practices with the established OSS practices can minimise knowledge loss.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Event Type:Conference
Uncontrolled Keywords:Software Development Process; Open Source Software; Knowledge Loss; Knowledge Retention Process; Open Source Software Contributor
Subjects:Computer Science > Software engineering
DCU Faculties and Centres:Research Initiatives and Centres > Lero: The Irish Software Engineering Research Centre
DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Engineering and Computing > School of Computing
Published in:Software Process Improvement and Capability Determination. Communications in Computer and Information Science (CCIS) 770. Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-67383-7
Official URL:
Copyright Information:© 2017 Springer. The original publication is available at
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. View License
Funders: Science Foundation Ireland grant 13/RC/2094
ID Code:22027
Deposited On:22 Sep 2017 10:25 by Rory O'Connor. Last Modified 22 Sep 2017 10:25

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