Our own Dr. Lilly Irani and graduate student Dorothy Howard recently received the Sloan and Ford Foundation 2018 Digital Infrastructure Research Grant as part of their collaborative project with the UC Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS) and the University of Connecticut.
Their project entitled, “The Visible and Invisible Work of Maintaining Open Source Digital Infrastructure” explores community-based open-source software projects and how the visible and invisible work of maintaining trusted, functioning software infrastructure — especially as projects grow and transition from volunteer-based to various sustainability models. As originally volunteer-based open source software projects become infrastructure, visible and invisible labor is required to maintain trusted functionality. This project will investigate the technical, emotional, and social dimensions of maintenance work through qualitative and ethnographic methods, additionally studying how quantitative metrics (i.e., code commits) can and cannot capture such work. The goal here is to advance the conversation on visible and invisible work in OSS in ways that are constructive, sensitive, and empirically grounded, in order to help practitioners and stakeholders better understand related tensions and limitations of current resourcing and evaluation approaches.
Congratulations Lilly and Dorothy!