Attractiveness to new Contributors of Open Source Software projects on Github

  • B. Nieuwhof

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The importance of Open Source Software is increasing rapidly. Open source software projects require newcomers for their continuity. However attracting newcomers can be challenging. In several papers, aspects about attractiveness or barriers for newcomers are analyzed.
In this thesis we explore two aspects that can potentially affect the attractiveness of OSS projects for newcomers, namely, (1) the acceptance of their first pull request, and (2) the existence of different kinds of technical and organizational documentation. The research is done on a snapshot of the Github repository, collected by the ghtorrent project. This project made it possible to do quantitative research on a total of 4.442.209 projects as well as to select 66 projects for which their documentation was manually inspected.
We found out that there was no correlation between the acceptance of a first pull request and the willingness to contribute more to a project by a newcomer. This was an unexpected outcome. The existence of helpful documentation to start contributing, such as ‘how to start’ documents and guidelines appear to be very effective.
Date of Award6 Jul 2021
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorEfthimia Aivaloglou (Examiner) & Marko van Eekelen (Co-assessor)

Master's Degree

  • Master Software Engineering

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