Microstructure of Collaboration: The Network of Open Source Software

Intellectual Property and Open Source

Article Snapshot


Chaim Fershtman


NET Institute Working Paper #08-01, 2008


This paper analyzes the virtues and structure of a form of software development: the open source model.

Policy Relevance

Even though open source development is done by unpaid software developers, open source has important collaborative aspects that aid in R&D.

Main Points

  • It is not easy to measure the success of open source software.


  • One way to measure project success is to examine the number of times a project has been downloaded.  This is not an ideal measure, but it is nevertheless used.


  • In addition to downloads, there are two main groups of variables used in the analysis: a group of controlled variables and a group of network variables.


  • Using the types of variables named above, relationships and correlations can be created that provide hard data that can be used to measure the success of open source software.


  • Understanding the variables and the analysis will also help make a more effective open source system.

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