A Classification Analysis 
of the Success of Open Source Health Information Technology Projects

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International Journal of Healthcare Information Systems and Informatics


As the number of open source software (OSS) projects in healthcare grows rapidly, researchers are faced with the challenge of understanding and explaining the success of the open source phenomenon. This article proposes a research framework that examines the roles of project sponsorship, license type, development status and technological complements in the success of open source health information technology (HIT) projects and it develops a systematic method for classifying projects based on their success potential. Drawing from economic theory, a novel proposition in the authors’ framework suggests that higher project-license restrictiveness will increase OSS adoption, because organizations will be more confident that the OSS project will remain open source in the future. Applying the framework to a sample of open source software projects in healthcare, the authors find that although project sponsorship and license restrictiveness influence project metrics, they are not significant predictors of project success categorization. On the other hand, development status, operating system and programming language are significant predictors of an OSS project's success categorization. Application implications and future research directions are discussed. © 2009, IGI Global. All rights reserved.

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