The relationship among development skills, design quality, and centrality in open source projects


n a previous paper, we have found empirical evidence supporting a positive relationship between network centrality and success. However, we have also found that more successful projects have a lower technical quality. A first, straightforward argument explaining previous findings is that more central contributors are also highly skilled developers who are well known for their ability to manage the complexity of code with a lower attention to the software structure. The consolidated metrics of software quality used by the authors in their previous research represent measures of code structure. This paper provides empirical evidence supporting the idea that the negative impact of success on quality is caused by the careless behaviour of skilled developers, who are also hubs within the social network. Research hypotheses are tested on a sample of 56 OS applications from the SourceForge.net repository, with a total of 378 developers. The sample includes some of the most successful and large OS projects, as well as a cross-section of less famous active projects evenly distributed among SourceForge.net’s project categories.

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