A new study from a group of researchers in Austria shows programmers who participate in open source projects are motivated by a different set of values than money. The team surveyed software package developers involved in the R environment for statistical computing. Among project developers, the researchers found purely intrinsic motivations such as personal satisfaction and purely extrinsic motivations such as receiving compensation to be less important. They found the work design characteristics of the R project to be a strong determinant for programmers making contributions. Interactions with persons perceived as important within the community contributed to personal reputation and interaction with like-minded people contributed to social inclusion.
"The R community seems to offer the opportunity for R developers to identify with this highly valued group and feel a sense of belonging," say the authors of the study. They also note task characteristics can influence participation. For example, if a project's central task is developing an R package, programmers were more likely to contribute.
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