You are here:

Contribution Attribution

Question: Who has contributed to an open source project and what attribution information about people and organizations is assigned for contributions?


This metric evaluates who has worked on the project and specific project tasks and provides the attribution to project contributors and affiliated organizations. The aim is to understand, through insights into the paid contribution dynamics of a community, “how the work gets done.”


  1. Who is working on the project?
  2. What is the ratio of volunteer work, sponsored work, and blended work?
  3. How many contributions are sponsored?
  4. Who is sponsoring the contributions?
  5. What types of contributions are sponsored?
  6. How diverse is the community of contributors working on a project?


Most contributions can be implicitly attributed using trace data, and these attributions are reflected in other metrics. However, this metric relies heavily on data that is volunteered by contributors and interpreted by project leadership. The implementation of this metric demands that the human in the loop determine what organizations, and what individual contributors a contribution is attributed to. Each individual contributor should be offered the opportunity to indicate what firm, foundation, project, and/or client paid for a particular change.



Contributions by Volunteer vs Sponsored

Contributions by Gender

Tools Providing the Metric

  1. The Drupal community built this tool, began using it in 2015, and has been reporting their results annually
  2. There is an issue open with GitLab to implement this functionality

Data Collection Strategies

The Drupal Community implemented an example of how to gather information necessary for this metric to be calculated. It associates individuals, and organizations those individuals indicate as warranting attribution, for each discrete contribution.

Data Ethics Considerations

Although this metric requires the capture of a relationship between individuals and the contributions they make, the intent of this metric is NOT to measure individuals. The aim is to enable a wider understanding of how contributions to this project are motivated. Explicitly, it is not the intent of this metric to contribute to gamification of individual contributor work.



  • Matthew Tift
  • Sean Goggins
  • Elizabeth Barron
  • Vinod Ahuja
  • Armstrong Foundjem
  • Kevin Lumbard

To edit this metric please submit a Change Request here:

To reference this metric in software or publications please use this stable URL:

The usage and dissemination of health metrics may lead to privacy violations. Organizations may be exposed to risks. These risks may flow from compliance with the GDPR in the EU, with state law in the US, or with other laws. There may also be contractual risks flowing from terms of service for data providers such as GitHub and GitLab. The usage of metrics must be examined for risk and potential data ethics problems. Please see CHAOSS Data Ethics document for additional guidance.

Was this article helpful?
Dislike 0