CSCCE Open-Source Tools Trial 4 Recap: GitHub and Bitergia to support research and developer communities

For the fourth of our open-source Tools Trials, we took a closer look at some of the specific needs of research and developer communities. 

In this blog post, we briefly recap what we learned about how to use GitHub to collaborate on technical documentation, how GitHub teams can support member management, and the kinds of user metrics Bitergia Analytics can gather so that you can stay informed about the health of your community activities. You can also watch each of the presentations from the call, and access a collection of related resources. 

You can find recaps of the first three calls in this series on the CSCCE blog: 

We have one final trial to come soon…and, we would love to hear from you if there are other open-source tools you’d like to investigate for your own community management work, or if there are specific use cases you’re trying to find a solution to. Let us know by emailing

Introduction – about these trials

To kick off this Tools Trial, CSCCE’s Emily Lescak gave a brief overview of the series so far, and introduced the speakers. We’re grateful to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative for sponsoring the series, which has prompted interesting discussions, forged new connections, and sparked lots of ideas around community-building in open-source communities and using open-source tools. 

Co-creating technical documentation in GitHub

Sanket Verma is Community Manager at Zarr, “a community project to develop specifications and software for storage of large N-dimensional typed arrays.” In his presentation, Sanket focused on how he integrates Read the Docs and GitHub to create a process for creating and updating the technical documentation needed to support the community, and shared his process of soliciting proposals (aka “Zeps”) via a templated submission process.

GitHub teams for managing member contributions

Julia Koehler Leman is leading the transition of Rosetta software from proprietary to open, a complex process that highlighted the need for really granular user permissions. Rosetta is a software platform that models protein structure, and is used in a range of research settings in labs around the world. To manage the transition to open, Julia showed how GitHub Teams can be set up to ensure that only certain users can edit the Rosetta codebase, while ensuring that the community as a whole can offer feedback and suggestions. 

Bitergia – a community health metrics platform

Paul Nagy (OHDSI) and Georg Link (Bitergia) closed out the presentation portion of this Tools Trial by sharing the capabilities of Bitergia Analytics. This open-source tool integrates with GitHub (and other platforms) to analyze user behavior and create dashboards that community managers can use to assess how their members are interacting. In the case of OHDSI, Paul’s team is monitoring multiple projects on GitHub to ensure that they are active and that multiple members are contributing to each project, and then use that information to decide how best to support those projects. 


After the presentations, we opened the floor to Q&A with our speakers, and had some interesting conversations – both about the technical capabilities of the tools we covered, and also how to use them to support community management. For example, Paul shared some details about OHDSI’s mentorship program, Julia spoke about her process for managing requests to join the community, and Sanket provided additional insight into the size and diversity of the Zarr community and how members are involved in decision-making. 

A big thank you to our presenters, and everyone who joined this trial and the others in the series. We look forward to hosting more Tools Trials in the future – so please let us know what platforms you’re interested in learning more about by emailing And keep an eye out for our forthcoming collection of Tech Tip Sheets based on this series!


Getting started with GitHub
Getting started with GitHub Teams
Getting started with Bitergia Analytics
More about the projects presented today
Open-source community health