Social software development and version control platforms like GitHub allow users to “star” other users’ repositories. Staring is often used to indicate support, bookmark repositories for later reference, and create curated lists. A repository’s total number of stars is an easy metric to keep track of and is routinely used by the community as an indicator of project popularity.

The popularity of a particular topic or field can be determined by summing the number of stars across all related projects. There are a total of 127,038 stars across all of the identified projects; but a search on GitHub revealed there are 27 projects that have more stars than the entire software in environmental sustainability combined! With a median of 42 stars, the field of sustainable technology can be considered rather unpopular on GitHub.

With only 3 projects that have more than 1000 stars, it is once again becomes clear how little attention OSS receives within environmental sustainability. High growth in popularity can be seen in topics such as energy, transportation, earth observation, and meteorology. These are just a few examples of areas where software innovations are critical, which explains why open source software is more widely recognised.


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