Barriers faced by newcomers to open source projects: A systematic review

Igor Steinmacher, Marco Aurélio Graciotto Silva, Marco Aurélio Gerosa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

28 Scopus citations


To remain sustainable, some open source projects need a constant influx of new volunteers, or newcomers. However, the newcomers face different kinds of problems when onboarding to a project. In this paper we present the results of a systematic literature review aiming at identifying the barriers that a newcomer can face when contributing to an Open Source Software project. We identified and analyzed 21 studies that evidence this kind of problem. As a result we provide a hierarchical model that relies on five categories of barriers: finding a way to start, social interactions, code issues, documentation problems and newcomers’ knowledge. The most evidenced barriers are newcomers’ previous technical skills, receiving response from community, centrality of social contacts, and finding the appropriate way to start contributing. This classification provides a baseline for further researches related to newcomers onboarding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOpen Source Software
Subtitle of host publicationMobile Open Source Technologies - 10th IFIP WG 2.13 International Conference on Open Source Systems, OSS 2014, Proceedings
EditorsLuis Corral, Alberto Sillitti, Giancarlo Succi, Jelena Vlasenko, Anthony I. Wasserman
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9783642551277
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameIFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology
ISSN (Print)1868-4238
ISSN (Electronic)1868-422X

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems and Management


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