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: https://doi.org/10.1109/MCSE.2014.93

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.

Viewing alternatives

Metrics

Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions

Export

About

Recommendations