One of the cornerstones of the R system for statistical computing is the multitude of packages contributed by numerous package authors. This amount of packages makes an extremely broad range of statistical techniques and other quantitative methods freely available. Thus far, no empirical study has investigated psychological factors that drive authors to participate in the R project. This article presents a study of R package authors, collecting data on different types of participation (number of packages, participation in mailing lists, participation in conferences), three psychological scales (types of motivation, psychological values, and work design characteristics), and various socio-demographic factors. The data are analyzed using item response models and subsequent generalized linear models, showing that the most important determinants for participation are a hybrid form of motivation and the social characteristics of the work design. Other factors are found to have less impact or influence only specific aspects of participation.

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Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Mair, P, E. Hofmann (Eva), Gruber, K, R. Hatzinger (Reinhold), & Zeileis, A. (2015). Motivation, Values, and Work Design as Drivers of Participation in the R Open Source Project. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(48). doi:10.1073/pnas.1506047112