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Crowdsourcing scientific software documentation: a case study of the NumPy documentation project

Pawlik, Aleksandra; Segal, Judith; Petre, Marian and Sharp, Helen (2015). Crowdsourcing scientific software documentation: a case study of the NumPy documentation project. Computing in Science & Engineering, 17(1) pp. 28–36.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1109/MCSE.2014.93
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Abstract

Without good documentation, even the most sophisticated and efficient scientific software is difficult to use and maintain. However, due to lack of time, resources and incentives, scientists who develop software for other scientists are not keen on writing documentation. Scientific software packages that are freely available and shared within scientific communities often suffer from poor documentation, sometimes making them unusable. This paper considers documentation crowdsourcing as a way to address the issue. Using the NumPy documentation project as a case study, we discuss how to leverage the knowledge about software that resides within the user community. We look at technical infrastructure, community engagement and motivation. We consider benefits, such as expanding the community, and challenges, including maintaining the level of commitment. The conclusion suggests preliminary guidelines for those thinking about documentation crowdsourcing.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2014 IEEE
ISSN: 1521-9615
Keywords: computer-supported collaborative work; software engineering for Internet projects; knowledge sharing
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Computing and Communications
Research Group: Centre for Research in Computing (CRC)
Item ID: 41540
Depositing User: Marian Petre
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2014 14:41
Last Modified: 02 May 2018 14:04
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/41540
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