When the Open Source Community Meets COVID-19: Characterizing COVID-19 themed GitHub Repositories

by   Liu Wang, et al.

Ever since the beginning of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers from interdisciplinary domains have worked together to fight against the crisis. The open source community, plays a vital role in coping with the pandemic which is inherently a collaborative process. Plenty of COVID-19 related datasets, tools, software, deep learning models, are created and shared in research communities with great efforts. However, COVID-19 themed open source projects have not been systematically studied, and we are still unaware how the open source community helps combat COVID-19 in practice. To fill this void, in this paper, we take the first step to study COVID-19 themed repositories in GitHub, one of the most popular collaborative platforms. We have collected over 67K COVID-19 themed GitHub repositories till July 2020. We then characterize them from a number of aspects and classify them into six categories. We further investigate the contribution patterns of the contributors, and development and maintenance patterns of the repositories. This study sheds light on the promising direction of adopting open source technologies and resources to rapidly tackle the worldwide public health emergency in practice, and reveals existing challenges for improvement.


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