Growth of OSS in Academia / Research

I am looking for any resources (scientific literature / stats / articles / blogs) that provide information about the (apparent) trend toward using open source software in academia and research. If anyone could point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it! I have found it surprisingly difficult to find resources. This information will be used for what I’m optimistically calling a “side project” but realistically may become a piece of my dissertation used to justify / defend my overall project and methods. Eek.


Thanks for asking here @DanielleQ.

Can you point out a few key resources you’ve already found, to start things off? Will help people avoid adding important things you already know :grinning:


So, I have a number of papers that touch on open source software as a good option in academic research, like Carey & Papin’s “Ten simple rules for biologists learning to program” (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005871)
from earlier this year, and Dryden et al.'s “Open source hardware and software in analytical chemistry” (DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.7b00485).

I’m yet to come across any resource that is explicitly about the rise of OSS in academia. It’s possible that the trend I see happening locally isn’t as widespread as I thought! I should also note that I’m primarily interested in disciplines outside of
traditional CS.

I’ve put my current lit in a repository, here:

I feel like I’m just not using the correct terms in my searches, or looking in the wrong places, and thought that the community might be able to set me down the right path :slight_smile:


Your explanation is helpful. Would you mind if link to your (fresh new) repo was shared in a tweet? If that’s ok, please add a brief explanation in the README and suggest how you want people to add comments or resources, in case they want to comment directly there.

Let’s see if we can get some input for you.

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This is super interesting @DanielleQ! and I would love to hear more about your “side project” or dissertation. I will follow your GitHub repo as I am myself very interested in this question.

This won’t be of any use to you, but for a proposal I am working on, I compared the use of the tags [r], [sas], and [matlab] on Stack Overflow from 2009 and the present. Of course, this may not at all be correlated with usage (people using OSS may be much more inclined to use SO than others, or people using non-SSO may be more likely to seek help directly with the software companies, etc.). The data was nevertheless exciting:

I really like “Good Enough Practices in Scientific Computing”, which I noticed isn’t in your lit search repo. It doesn’t deal explicitly with open source software, but does quickly touch on licensing issues and also provides a broader justification for other things you might be doing with your dissertation, like using Git/GitHub etc.

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