Analyzing GitHub as a Collaborative Software Development Platform: A Systematic Review




Reyes López, Arturo

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GitHub is a popular social coding site where developers not only host their code and use git functions, but also use social features to communicate, collaborate, and be aware of changes and others' activities. This new paradigm to code together, and the availability of data have given rise to much research studying collaboration from different angles. However, the vast accumulated knowledge about GitHub tends to be scattered and fragmented. The goal of this study is to collect the available research on GitHub that is focused on identifying the impact of GitHub in software development. The design of the study includes two sections. First, a systematic search in 7 electronic digital libraries was conducted using a de fined search protocol, which included a keyword string and exclusion/inclusion criteria. Second, the extraction of data from each publication and manual coding was conducted to defi ne categories of knowledge based on research questions and fi ndings. The study results show a growing trend in research with an increase in mixed methodology. The preferred data sources for empirical studies about GitHub are the GitHub API and GHTorrent in 72.57% of publications. The study reveals that a group made of 30 researchers publish 45.86% of total research. The research in NorthAmerica represents 26% of publications. The research on GitHub is focused on the evaluation of pull requests and use of issues(30.77%), popular projects characteristics (20.88%), collaboration and transparency (15.38%), developers' roles (9.89%), influence of popular developers (8.79%), quick-start package with guidelines and datasets (8.79%), tools to improve contributions and collaboration (4.40%) and other (1.1%).



GitHub, Collaboration, Systematic Review