Anita Sarma, a professor of computer science at Oregon State University, is a co-author of a paper that was ranked in the top 5% of papers presented at the International Conference on Software Engineering in May.
The paper, “Do I Belong? Modeling Sense of Virtual Community Among Linux Kernel Contributors,” aims to create a theoretical model to understand what creates a sense of belonging in virtual communities among developers participating in open-source projects. It provides recommendations for enhancing this sense of community, to help retain developers and improve project sustainability.
“Creating a sense of belonging to a community is crucial for open-source contributors to feel engaged and reduce burnout and turnover,” Sarma said. “Intrinsic motivations like social ties and having fun have a positive effect in creating a sense of belonging in a virtual community; Additionally, those with higher English confidence feel a higher sense of belonging in the community, and contributors who identify as part of a gender minority, tend to feel less of a sense of virtual community.”
The paper was one out 10 papers given the distinguished paper award at the conference, where more than 200 papers were presented.
Sarma’s co-authors were Bianca Trinkenreich, Marco Gerosa, and Igor Steinmacher from Northern Arizona University; Klaas-Jan Stol from University College Cork; and Daniel M German from University of Victoria.