Empirical research on the evaluation model and method of sustainability of the open source ecosystem

Zhifang Liao, Libing Deng, Xiaoping Fan*, Yan Zhang, Hui Liu, Xiaofei Qi, Yun Zhou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
92 Downloads (Pure)


The development of open source brings new thinking and production modes to software engineering and computer science, and establishes a software development method and ecological environment in which groups participate. Regardless of investors, developers, participants, and managers, they are most concerned about whether the Open Source Ecosystem can be sustainable to ensure that the ecosystem they choose will serve users for a long time. Moreover, the most important quality of the software ecosystem is sustainability, and it is also a research area in Symmetry. Therefore, it is significant to assess the sustainability of the Open Source Ecosystem. However, the current measurement of the sustainability of the Open Source Ecosystem lacks universal measurement indicators, as well as a method and a model. Therefore, this paper constructs an Evaluation Indicators System, which consists of three levels: The target level, the guideline level and the evaluation level, and takes openness, stability, activity, and extensibility as measurement indicators. On this basis, a weight calculation method, based on information contribution values and a Sustainability Assessment Model, is proposed. The models and methods are used to analyze the factors affecting the sustainability of Stack Overflow (SO) ecosystem. Through the analysis, we find that every indicator in the SO ecosystem is partaking in different development trends. The development trend of a single indicator does not represent the sustainable development trend of the whole ecosystem. It is necessary to consider all of the indicators to judge that ecosystem’s sustainability. The research on the sustainability of the Open Source Ecosystem is helpful for judging software health, measuring development efficiency and adjusting organizational structure. It also provides a reference for researchers who study the sustainability of software engineering.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages26
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2018


  • Evaluation indicators system
  • Open source ecosystem
  • Software engineering
  • Sustainability
  • Symmetry


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