What Attracts Newcomers to Onboard on OSS Projects? TL;DR: Popularity

Felipe Fronchetti, Igor Wiese, Gustavo Pinto, Igor Steinmacher

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

22 Scopus citations


Voluntary contributions play an important role in maintaining Open Source Software (OSS) projects active. New volunteers feel motivated to contribute to OSS projects based on a set of motivations. In this study, we aim to understand which factors OSS projects usually maintain that might influence their new contributors’ onboarding. Using a set of 450 repositories, we investigated mixed factors, such as the project age, the number of stars, the programming language used, or the presence of text files that aid contributors (e.g., templates for pull-requests or license files). We used a K-Spectral Centroid (KSC) clustering algorithm to investigated the newcomers’ growth rate for the analyzed projects. We could found three common patterns: A logarithmic, an exponential, and a linear growth pattern. Based on these patterns, we used a Random Forest classifier to understand how each factor could explain the growth rates. We found that popularity of the project (in terms of stars), time to review pull requests, project age, and programming languages are the factors that best explain the newcomers’ growth patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOpen Source Systems - 15th IFIP WG 2.13 International Conference, OSS 2019, Proceedings
EditorsFrancis Bordeleau, Alberto Sillitti, Paulo Meirelles, Valentina Lenarduzzi
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9783030208820
StatePublished - 2019
Event15th International Conference on Open Source Systems, OSS 2019 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: May 26 2019May 27 2019

Publication series

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


Conference15th International Conference on Open Source Systems, OSS 2019


  • Attractiveness
  • Newcomers
  • Open Source Software

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management


Dive into the research topics of 'What Attracts Newcomers to Onboard on OSS Projects? TL;DR: Popularity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this