Towards a National Research Infrastructure for Multidisciplinary Empirical Study of Free/Open Source Software Development
The Free/Open Source Software (F/OSS) research community is growing across and within multiple disciplines. This community faces a new and unusual situation. The traditional difficulties of gathering enough empirical data have been replaced by issues of dealing with enormous amounts of freely available public data from many disparate sources (online discussion forums, source code directories, bug reports, OSS Web portals, etc.). Consequently, these data are being discovered, gathered, analyzed, and used to support multidisciplinary research. However at present, no means exist for assembling these data under common access points and frameworks for comparative, longitudinal, and collaborative research across disciplines. Gathering and maintaining large F/OSS data collections reliably and making them usable present several research challenges.