From the World Bank Data Blog: in a stunning report from the OpenDRI, an initiative sponsored by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), researchers looked into whether it was possible to quantify the benefit of contributing to and participating in open source communities and found the conservative estimate to be on the order of 200% ROI. This is astounding. We in the open source world have often wondered how, exactly, a business can benefit from participating in upstream open source communities.
On one hand, I don’t want to overplay the importance of ROI, because there are many tangible and intangible benefits from open source participation, which should not be downplayed. On the other hand, if there’s an appreciable, direct ROI to open source participation, this is something to make some noise about.
The Data Blog from the World Bank has a nice summary of the research. It discusses this specific report that covers 7 years of development on the GeoNode software project. There’s also a nice primer on open source best practices for those new to the subject matter.