University of Hertfordshire

How diverse is your team? Investigating gender and nationality diversity in GitHub teams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



  • Marco Ortu
  • Giuseppe Destefanis
  • Steve Counsell
  • Stephen Swift
  • Roberto Tonelli
  • Michele Marchesi
View graph of relations
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Software Engineering Research and Development
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2017


Building an effective team of developers is a complex task faced by both software companies and open source communities. The problem of forming a “dream”

team involves many variables, including consideration of human factors and it is not a

dilemma solvable in a mathematical way. Empirical studies might provide interesting insights to explain which factors need to be taken into account in building a team of developers and which levers act to optimise productivity among developers.

In this paper, we present the results of an empirical study aimed at investigating the link between team diversity (i.e., gender, nationality) and productivity (issue fixing time).

We consider issues solved from the GHTorrent dataset inferring gender and nationality of each team’s members. We also evaluate the politeness of all comments involved in issue resolution.

Results show that higher gender diversity is linked with a lower team average issue fixing time (higher productivity), that nationality diversity is linked with lower team politeness and that gender diversity is linked with higher sentiment.


Open Access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

ID: 13428662