Making Sausage

How and why open source scientific software gets made – and what keeps us from making more

About Me

  • Mike Mahoney

  • ESIP Community Fellow (IT&I, ML)

  • PhD candidate in environmental science

  • Research assistant, CAFRI

  • These slides:

All users of the program have access to the source code of the program, and are allowed to redistribute, modify, and use the program as they see fit.

Open source is open

Open source makes collaboration easier

“Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.”

– Eric S. Raymond, The Cathedral and the Bazaar

Open source is cumulative

Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them.

– A N Whitehead

Open source aligns with the goals of science and scientists

I’m not worried about being scooped, I’m worried about being ignored

– Magnus Nordborg

Open source is lonely






Running a successful open source project is just Good Will Hunting in reverse, where you start out as a respected genius and end up being a janitor who gets into fights.

– Byrne Hobart

Open source is a long-tailed phenomenon

All R Packages (n = 26,039)

95% of downloads (n = 1,341)

90% of downloads (n = 607)

90% of downloads (n = 607)

Open-source developers are mostly doing something else for a living

Open-source success is hard to track

Small, lightweight seed funding can be very impactful

Community groups can help with burnout

Value software as a research product

Cite your software

Thank you!

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