How to increase diversity in open source communities
08-31, 13:35–13:50 (Europe/Zurich), HS 120

Today state of the art scientific research strongly depends on open source libraries. The demographic of the contributors to these libraries is predominantly white and male [1][2][3][4]. In recent years there have been a number of various recommendations and initiatives to increase the participation in open source projects of groups who are underrepresented in this domain [1][3][5][6]. While these efforts are valuable and much needed, contributor diversity remains a challenge in open source communities [2][3][7]. This talk highlights the underlying problems and explores how we can overcome them.

In this talk we’ll first examine the problems encountered by people belonging to marginalised groups in open source as well as by project maintainers with respect to contributing to and increasing the diversity of open source projects, respectively [1][2][3][4][5][6]. Building on this overview, we’ll go over what kind of actions have been taken to increase diversity in open source projects, with special focus on scientific libraries, and the effects they have had [1][6][7]. Lastly, we’ll look at ideas that are currently being tested and next steps. By the end of this talk, the audience will have a good understanding of why contributor diversity is low in open source, the efforts that have been made so far to address this problem, and what can further be done to increase the presence of underrepresented groups in technology in general, and in open source in particular.

Abstract as a tweet

Learn about strategies for increasing diversity in #opensource projects presented by @MarenWestermann


Open Source Library

Expected audience expertise: Domain


Expected audience expertise: Python


Dr Maren Westermann works as a machine learning engineer and holds a PhD in environmental science. She is a self taught Pythonista, an active open source contributor, especially to the library scikit-learn, and is a co-organiser of PyLadies Berlin where she hosts monthly open source hack nights.