Barriers Faced by Newcomers to Open Source Projects: A Systematic Review

  • Igor Steinmacher
  • Marco Aurélio Graciotto Silva
  • Marco Aurélio Gerosa
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 427)


To remain sustainable, some open source projects need a constant influx of new volunteers, or newcomers. However, the newcomers face different kinds of problems when onboarding to a project. In this paper we present the results of a systematic literature review aiming at identifying the barriers that a newcomer can face when contributing to an Open Source Software project. We identified and analyzed 21 studies that evidence this kind of problem. As a result we provide a hierarchical model that relies on five categories of barriers: finding a way to start, social interactions, code issues, documentation problems and newcomers’ knowledge. The most evidenced barriers are newcomers’ previous technical skills, receiving response from community, centrality of social contacts, and finding the appropriate way to start contributing. This classification provides a baseline for further researches related to newcomers onboarding.


Digital Library Open Source Software Open Source Project Global Software Development Open Source Software Project 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Igor Steinmacher
    • 1
  • Marco Aurélio Graciotto Silva
    • 1
  • Marco Aurélio Gerosa
    • 2
  1. 1.DACOMUTFPRCampo MouraoBrazil
  2. 2.IME, USPSao PauloBrazil

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