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Incentives and integration in scientific software production

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Howison J, Herbsleb JD. Incentives and integration in scientific software production. Oral presentation at Proceedings of the 2013 Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work. 2013.

Science policy makers are looking for approaches to increase the extent of collaboration in the production of scientific software, looking to open collaborations in open source software for inspiration. We examine the software ecosystem surrounding BLAST, a key bioinformatics tool, identifying outside improvements and interviewing their authors. We find that academic credit is a powerful motivator for the production and revealing of improvements. Yet surprisingly, we also find that improvements motivated by academic credit are less likely to be integrated than those with other motivations, including financial gain. We argue that this is because integration makes it harder to see who has contributed what and thereby undermines the ability of reputation to function as a reward for collaboration. We consider how open source avoids these issues and conclude with policy approaches to promoting wider collaboration by addressing incentives for integration.

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Type of Publication:

Oral presentation


open source, incentives, software production

Addresses these goal(s):

  • Conduct research on/evaluate team science

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Resource created by Lauren Faulkner on 10/8/2014 2:17:03 PM.

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