GSoC 2024 Project Idea 5.2 Open-source Community Sustainability (350 h)

As demonstrated by many organizations, open-source communities can do great things. But this is only true if the contributor community can maintain public goods such as the software codebase and institutional knowledge over time and despite contributor turnover. During GSoC 2023, our group of contributors used an adversarial approach to build several agent-based models ( Ethics). Taken collectively, this codebase simulates open-source community interactions to encourage conditions leading to sustainable practice. These models have subsequently been incorporated into a web-based auditing tool ( that presents interactive evaluatory methods for community managers and other open-source project leaders.

For this project, you will maintain and develop the auditing tool backend, help to improve upon the underlying models, collect and analyze data where appropriate, and serve as a platform tester using multiple user personas. While the applicant can select their focus based on personal preference and/or strengths, they will be expected to engage in all aspects of maintenance and project improvement. Our goal is to develop one or more maintainers of the platform who are also capable of research software engineering ( software-engineering/).

What can I do before GSoC?

You can join the Orthogonal Lab, as well as attend our Saturday Morning NeuroSim meetings. You will work with our Ethics, Society, and Technology group, and interactions with your colleagues is key. You will also want to become familiar with our auditing tool (https://sustainabilityauditingtool.herokuapp. com/ and Sustainability Auditing Tool Team ยท GitHub), as well as the NetLogo platform for building agent-based models.

Orthogonal Research and Education Lab:

Skill level: Intermediate

Required skills: The following languages will be used extensively throughout the project: NetLogo, Python, and Javascript. This project will also involve web development, working with computational models, UI design, and open-source community-building, so experience in these areas is helpful but not required. Knowledge of open-source development practices and an interest in interdisciplinary research are a must.

Time commitment: Full-time (350 h)

Lead mentor: Bradly Alicea (, Jesse Parent (, Brian McCorkle (

Project website:

Backup mentors: TBA

Tech keywords: Open Source Communities, Agent-based Models, NetLogo, Python, Javascript