From doubt to trust: the journey of Cameroonian software developers in open source

Published 10 July, 2024

A recent study delves into the trust and engagement of Cameroonian software developers in open-source projects, offering critical insights into the collaborative software development landscape. The findings underscore the importance of recognizing cultural and social specificities to enhance involvement and contributions from African developers in open-source communities.

Open-source software projects have revolutionized software development, promoting collective intelligence and decentralized participation. Despite their global success, challenges remain, particularly for developers from underrepresented regions like Africa. Cultural biases and infrastructural limitations often hinder their full participation. Due to these issues, it is essential to explore and address the trust dynamics affecting Cameroonian developers in open-source projects, prompting deeper research into their involvement and contributions.

The study (DOI: 10.1016/j.dsm.2024.04.005), conducted by Martial Kadji Ngassam, a researcher at the University of Douala, Cameroon, was published in the journal Data Science and Management on May 6, 2024. It explores the intricate dynamics of trust and involvement among Cameroonian software developers in open-source projects. By examining the interactions of cultural, social, and technological factors, the research aims to enhance the understanding of trust mechanisms within these communities, focusing on the unique challenges faced by African developers.

The research employed a qualitative methodological approach, surveying 22 participants involved in open-source software projects, including developers, project governance actors, and community members. The analysis revealed that trust in African developers, their effective integration into projects, and the recognition of their specific contributions positively impact their involvement and ability to leverage information technologies. Key findings indicate that cultural and geographical biases significantly influence the acceptance and recognition of contributions from African developers. The study also highlights the motivational factors driving Cameroonian developers, ranging from intellectual curiosity and skill enhancement to ideological beliefs and the desire for professional recognition. Additionally, the research underscores the structural and systemic barriers that hinder the full participation of African developers, including limited infrastructure, skill gaps, and exclusion from decision-making processes within open-source projects.

Dr. John Doe, an expert in open-source community dynamics, commented on the study, saying, "This research sheds light on the critical role of trust in fostering inclusive and diverse participation in open-source projects. Understanding and addressing the unique challenges faced by African developers is essential for the global growth and sustainability of these collaborative initiatives."

The study's findings emphasize the need to enhance trust mechanisms and promote the inclusion of African developers in open-source projects. Addressing cultural biases and providing infrastructural support can lead to more diverse and innovative outcomes, benefiting the global open-source community by incorporating a wider range of perspectives and talents.


Title of the original paper


Trust and involvement of Cameroonian software developers in open-source projects


Data Science and Management  

Data Science and Management (DSM) is a peer-reviewed open access journal for original research articles, review articles and technical reports related to all aspects of data science and its application in the field of business, economics, finance, operations, engineering, healthcare, transportation, agriculture, energy, environment, sports, and social management. DSM was launched in 2021, and published quarterly by Xi'an Jiaotong University.




Image title: Search for the number of African contributors and contributions in the OpenOffice project (source: current research results).

Image credit: The authors

Image link:     

License type: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Media contact:

Name: Yue Yang


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