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SourceForge.net Research Data

SourceForge.net is the world's largest Open Source software development web site, with the largest repository of Open Source code and applications available on the Internet. Owned and operated by Dice, SourceForge.net provides free services to Open Source developers. The SourceForge.net web site is database driven and the supporting database includes historic and status statistics on over 320,000 projects, over 850,000 developers' activities, and over 3.4 million registered users' activities at the project management web site. Dice has shared certain SourceForge.net data with the University of Notre Dame for the sole purpose of supporting academic and scholarly research on the Free/Open Source Software phenomenon. Dice has given Notre Dame permission to in turn share this data with other academic researchers studying the Free/Open Source Software phenomenon. More information about SourceForge can be found here.

Release of the SourceForge.net Research Data

To advance the understanding of, and research on, the Free/Open Source Software phenomenon, portions of the data that may support such research, will be made available to academic or scholarly researchers. All requests for data must be submitted in writing (e-mail) to the Notre Dame PI, (Greg Madey). Only academic and scholarly researchers are eligible to receive the data. To receive the data, a short questionnaire and agreement must be completed, signed and returned.

How do I get research data?

The research data is available to those doing academic and scholarly research on the Free/Open Source Software phenomenon:

  1. Submit the questionnaire and signed agreement
  2. Study the "live" SourceForge.net site to understand the context of the data collection.
  3. Review the ER-Diagram (multipage version or single page versions) and the Table Definitions to identify research data of interest
  4. The researcher will be sent a userid and password that will provide access to a web-based form that will permit direct SQL queries against the data archive
  5. Submit email requests for support to oss@nd.edu
  6. Please review papers on FLOSS (Free/Libre/Open Source Software) Research Ethics

Data Query

Once you have received a user name, you may access the query form here:
SourceForge Research Archive Query

Description of Data Available

SourceForge.net uses relational databases to store project management activity and statistics. There are over 100 relations (tables) in the data dumps provided to Notre Dame. Some of the data have been removed for security and privacy reasons. SourceForge.net cleanses the data of personal information and strips out all Dice specific and site functionality specific information. On a monthly basis, a complete dump of the databases (minus the data dropped for privacy and security reasons) is shared with Notre Dame. The Notre Dame researchers have built a data warehouse comprised of these monthly dumps, with each stored in a separate schema. Thus, each monthly dump is a snapshot of the status of all the SourceForge.net projects at that point in time. As of November 2005, the data warehouse was almost 300 GBytes in size, and is growing at about 25 GBytes per month. Much of the data is duplicated among the monthly dumps, but trends or changes in project activity and structure can be discovered by comparing data from the monthly dumps. Queries across the monthly schema may be used to discover when changes took place, to estimate trends in project activity and participation, or even that no activity, events or changes have taken place. To help researchers determine what data is available, an ER-diagram and the definitions of tables and views in the data warehouse are provided.

For each month, the data warehouse includes three major parts.

  • The tables supporting the SourceForge.net web site, for example, the tables user, group etc..
  • The tables used to store the statistics of the whole community, including daily page access, downloads etc..
  • The tables with the history information on the other tables.

We suggest studying the "live" SourceForge.net site to see what kind of services are provided. This may provide hints as to what types of data might be available in the SourceForge.net data warehouse to support research into the Free/Open Source Software.

Types of Data that Can be Extracted from the SourceForge.net Research Data Archive

The following are types of data that we have extracted from the SourceForge.net Research Data Archive:

  • Project sizes over time (number of developers as a function of time presented as a frequency distribution)
  • Development participation on projects (number of projects individual developers participate on presented as a frequency distribution)
    • The above two items are used to create a "collaboration social-network"
    • The above two items were used to discover scale-free distributions among developer activity and project activity
  • The extended-community size around each project including project developers plus registered members who participated in any way on a project (discussion forum posting, bug report, patch submission, etc.)
  • Date of project creation (at SourceForge.net)
  • Date of first software release for a project
  • SourceForge.net ranking of projects at various times
  • Activity statistics on projects at various times
  • Number of projects in various software categories, e.g., games, communications, database, security, etc.

Since all of the archived data is stored in a relational database, data to support F/OSS investigations will be extracted using SQL queries against the data warehouse.

More information about the data archive may be found here

Related Links
Data Archive Resources