Software Development Cultures and Cooperation Problems: A Field Study of the Early Stages of Development of Software for a Scientific Community

  • Judith Segal


In earlier work, I identified a particular class of end-user developers, who include scientists and whom I term ‘professional end-user developers’, as being of especial interest. Here, I extend this work by articulating a culture of professional end-user development, and illustrating by means of a field-study how the influence of this culture causes cooperation problems in an inter-disciplinary team developing a software system for a scientific community. My analysis of the field study data is informed by some recent literature on multi-national work cultures. Whilst acknowledging that viewing a scientific development through a lens of software development culture does not give a full picture, I argue that it nonetheless provides deep insights.


community software development cooperation field study scientific software development software development culture professional end-user developers 



I should like to express my heartfelt gratitude to those people who participated in this field study. For reasons of confidentiality I cannot name them, but they know who they are. In addition, I should like to thank my colleagues in the Empirical Studies of Software Development Group in the Centre for Research in Computing at the Open University, Marian Petre, Hugh Robinson and Helen Sharp, for their unwavering support of my work. I should also like to thank the anonymous reviewers of an earlier version of this paper for their suggestions and references.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Empirical Studies of Software Development Group, Centre for Research in Computing, The Department of ComputingThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK

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