Aims and scope

Empirical Software Engineering provides a forum for applied software engineering research with a strong empirical component.

Over the last decade, it has become clear that empirical studies are a fundamental component of software engineering research and practice: Software development practices and technologies must be investigated by empirical means in order to be understood, evaluated, and deployed in proper contexts. This stems from the observation that higher software quality and productivity is more likely to be achieved if well-understood, tested practices and technologies are introduced in software development.

Reported empirical studies usually involve the collection and analysis of data and experience that can be used to characterize, evaluate and reveal relationships between software development deliverables, practices, and technologies. Over time, it is expected that such empirical results will form a body of knowledge leading to widely accepted and well-formed theories.

Empirical Software Engineering aims at promoting the publication of industry-relevant research since one of its goals is to address the significant gap between research and practice.

Research Articles

Both original and replicated studies can be reported, varying from controlled experiments to field studies, from data intensive to qualitative. Preference is given to studies that can be replicated or expanded upon. Papers on the infrastructure for supporting empirical research are also of interest.

Specific topics relevant to the journal include the following:

  • Analysis and design

  • Model-driven development
  • Requirements engineering
  • Verification and validation
  • Maintenance and evolution
  • Quality assurance
  • Dependability analysis
  • Project management
  • Organization models for software development
  • Predictive models for software dependability
  • Software engineering economics
  • Applications of artificial intelligence techniques to software engineering
  • Qualitative analysis

Industrial Experience Reports

The Empirical Software Engineering journal also seeks the submission of industrial experience reports. Their goal is to report results regarding the application of software technologies (such as processes, methods, or tools) and their effectiveness in industrial settings. This interest stems from the increasing realization that the journal needs to provide insights resulting from the industrial experience of software development to the software engineering community at large. These experience reports would not only be useful for researchers to identify relevant research questions, but they would also be useful for software development organizations to share relevant information.

An industrial experience report would be expected to address the following items at a minimum:

  • Describe the context from which results are reported: organization, problem domain, projects, products, processes
  • Describe the software technologies (such as processes, methods, or tools) that are assessed and why they are important
  • Provide effectiveness and efficiency data leading to the assessment of the technologies
  • Interpret the results, explain their consequences, and draw conclusions
  • Discuss the limitations of the results and conclusions

Industrial experience reports may be as concise as an author wishes, provided that they cover the above items. They will be clearly labeled as industrial experience reports to indicate that different criteria are used to review them. Note that the journal encourages the submission of both positive and negative experiences.

As opposed to regular research papers, industrial experience reports do not need to necessarily:

  • Discuss novel ideas
  • Discuss related published work in the literature