Analyzing Government Use of GitHub for Collaboration: An Empirical Approach to Measuring Open Government and Open Collaboration
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The way government organizations collaborate on developing computer software has significantly changed with the use of the Internet. GitHub, an online platform that hosts computer software and provides project management solutions, has been popular for hosting open source software projects. Although some government organizations have been adopting the use of GitHub for their own work, there is a lack of understand as to why they use it and how it can contribute to them becoming an open government. This research identifies motivations and challenges that they face in using the platform to become an open government, and how they are participating in open collaboration on the platform. Governments are motivated to use GitHub because it allows them to break down silos of knowledge within government departments and share knowledge more freely. It comes with the challenges to train government workers to use version control systems such as Git, or to work within loose legal frameworks of what software is appropriate for governments to become an open government. As for the usage of the government accounts on the platform, almost 50% of government accounts on GitHub have actively used the platform since 2018. Although there are over 700 government organization accounts on GitHub, there is a lack of metadata or information available on their account as only 47% of them have provided a description about themselves, and only 36% have provided an email address to contact. Additionally, only 3% of all government accounts are verified accounts on GitHub. There is a collaborative relationship between government accounts who use GitHub, however there is a long-tail distribution in the number of collaborations (node degree). Few government accounts such as @alphagov (United Kingdom), @18F (United States of America), or @govau (Australia) are the most frequent collaborators, and they are their respective country’s chief open government organizations. Overall, this research demonstrates how to study the progression of open government and open collaboration using GitHub data, users, and organizations as a case study.
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Jaydeep Mistry (2020). Analyzing Government Use of GitHub for Collaboration: An Empirical Approach to Measuring Open Government and Open Collaboration. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/15666