Google summer of code: Student motivations and contributions

Jefferson O. Silva, Igor Wiese, Daniel M. German, Christoph Treude, Marco A. Gerosa, Igor Steinmacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Several open source software (OSS) projects participate in engagement programs like Summers of Code expecting to foster newcomers’ onboarding and receive contributions. However, scant empirical evidence identifies why students join such programs. In this paper, we study the well-established Google Summer of Code (GSoC), which is a 3-month OSS engagement program that offers stipends and mentorship to students willing to contribute to OSS projects. We combined a survey (of students and mentors) and interviews (of students) to understand what motivates students to enter GSoC. Our results show that students enter GSoC for an enriching experience, and not necessarily to become frequent contributors. Our data suggest that, while stipends are an important motivator, students participate for work experience and the ability to enhance their resumés. We also discuss practical implications for students, mentors, OSS projects, and Summer of Code programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110487
JournalJournal of Systems and Software
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • Google summer of code
  • Motivation
  • Newcomers
  • Open source software

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture


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