Quotation Wachs, Johannes, Nitecki, Mariusz, Schueller, William, Polleres, Axel. 2022. The Geography of Open Source Software: Evidence from GitHub. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 176




Open Source Software (OSS) plays an important role in the digital economy. Yet although software production is amenable to remote collaboration and its outputs are digital, software development seems to cluster geographically in places like Silicon Valley, London, or Berlin. And while OSS activity creates positive externalities which accrue locally through knowledge spillovers and information effects, up-to-date data on the geographic distribution of open source developers is limited. This presents a significant blindspot for policymakers, who often promote OSS at the national level as a cost-saving tool for public sector institutions. We address this gap by geolocating more than half a million active contributors to GitHub in early 2021 at various spatial scales. Compared to results from 2010, we find a significant increase in the share of developers based in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, suggesting a more even spread of OSS developers globally. Within countries, however, we find significant concentration in regions, exceeding the concentration of high-tech employment. Social and economic development indicators predict at most half of regional variation in OSS activity in the EU, suggesting that clusters have idiosyncratic roots. We argue for localized policies to support networks of OSS developers in cities and regions.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Technological Forecasting and Social Change
Citation Index SSCI
WU Journalrating 2009 A
WU-Journal-Rating new INF-A, STRAT-B, WH-B
Language English
Title The Geography of Open Source Software: Evidence from GitHub
Volume 176
Year 2022
Reviewed? Y
URL https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0040162522000105
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2022.121478
Open Access Y
Open Access Link https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2022.121478


The Geography of Open Source Software
Wachs, Johannes (Details)
Nitecki, Mariusz (Former researcher)
Polleres, Axel (Details)
Schueller, William (Complexity Science Hub Vienna, Austria)
Institute for Data, Process and Knowledge Management (AE Polleres) (Details)
Research areas (Ă–STAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
1140 Software engineering (Details)
1801 Applied geography (Details)
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