Occasionally we get requests for assistance in research projects about open source, and this one is particularly interesting. A team at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard and Sciences Po is conducting research on Internet users (in this case, open source software developers).
Researchers Yann Algan and Yochai Benkler tell us that “this research project is intended to examine the microfoundations and dynamics of online interactions between internet users of various types through the application of interactive survey methods. We recruit participants to fill out a survey on LimeSurvey, an open source survey tool, which combines decision making involving money with substantive questions about attitudes and practices.”
This research is important because, as Yann says, “the ultimate objective of the study is understand better the interactions between developers and ultimately to improve the design and organization of online social spaces.” In other words their results will hopefully make the sites we use better, and improve interaction for us all.
Because they must keep their sample size balanced and representative of all different types of projects, they have hand-selected a group of participants they’d like to survey. If you are one of these chosen projects, I highly encourage you to pay attention to their email, and participate in the survey. You will be compensated for your time.
The coolest thing about this research project is that they are going to open access to the resulting data (while keeping full anonymity of participants intact.) Anyone will be able to use the data that they gather any way that they see fit. We’ll be sure to report back on what they find.
I’m really looking forward to seeing what the team comes up with and again, I encourage you to participate if you’re one of the chosen few.