Special Issue on "General Theories of Software Engineering"



Special Issue on General Theories of Software Engineering

Deadline: 1 December 2014

new (final) Deadline 15 December 2014

Information and Software Technology
Published by Elsevier Science (http://www.elsevier.com/)


Guest Editors
Dr. Klaas-Jan Stol Lero, University of Limerick, Ireland
Prof Dr. Michael Goedicke University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Dr. Ivar Jacobson Ivar Jacobson International, Switzerland


While evidence-based software engineering (EBSE) has attracted considerable attention from the research community, there is still a lack of interest and appreciation for the role of theory in the software engineering field. In order to make sense of all the empirical observations and evidence that researchers are gathering, we need theory that allows the abstraction of these observations into "universal knowledge" that is useful not only to other researchers but also to software engineering practitioners. Specifically, what the SE field seems to be missing is a General Theory, such as can be found in many other academic disciplines. Examples of general theories include the Big Bang theory and evolution theory. These "general" theories are able to explain (or predict) phenomena within a larger context of a discipline. This is of particular interest to the empirical software engineering community, which is increasingly recognizing the importance of context of research. However, few general theories of software engineering have been proposed, and none have achieved significant recognition. In turn, software engineering remains limited to problem solving by trial-and-error and rules-of-thumb and in most cases only related to a limited area of relevance. The state of research in software engineering cannot make significant advances as new trends are emerging quickly and a systematic cumulative research tradition within software engineering has not yet been achieved.


This special issue, organized by the SEMAT initiative (www.semat.org), aims to provide a forum for discussing the concept of a general theory of software engineering. Submissions are invited on the following topics (but not limited to these):

- Benefits of a general theory of software engineering;
- Desired qualities of a GTSE;
- Core components and form/notation of a GTSE;
- Proposed general theories of software engineering;
- Evaluation of theories for software engineering;
- The role of a GTSE within software engineering research;
- Theories from other scientific disciplines and how to adapt them to SE;
- Theories that discuss the relationship between process and product;
- Ontological and epistemological considerations for a general theory of SE;

Submission Procedure

Manuscripts can be submitted online at http://ees.elsevier.com/infsof/. Authors should select "SI:General Theory of SE", from the "Choose Article Type" pull-down menu during the submission process.

Contributions must not have been previously published or be under consideration for publication elsewhere. A submission extended from a previous conference version has to contain at least 30% new material. In these cases, authors are requested to describe the novel material in the article, and explicitly reference the extended article.

Authors are strongly advised to consult the journal's guide for authors prior to submitting their manuscripts. Further information is available at the journal homepage: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/infsof. Please note that Information and Software Technology prescribes the use of a "structured abstract" containing the following components: Context, Objective, Method, Results and Conclusions.

All papers will be reviewed by at least three expert reviewers.

Information and Software Technology is indexed in all major databases. Its 5-year impact factor is currently 1.692, and is ranked 4th in the list of Top Publications in the area of Software Systems by Google Scholar.

More Information

This Special Issue in "Information and Software Technology" follows a number of activities by the emerging GTSE community, including the publication of an article in the Sept/Oct 2012 issue of IEEE Software entitled "Where is the Theory for Software Engineering?" (DOI: 10.1109/MS.2012.127), a previous special issue in the journal "Science of Computer Programming" (expected publication date in October 2014: http://www.journals.elsevier.com/science-of-computer-programming/call-for-papers/special-issue-on-general-theories-of-software-engineering/), and three successful SEMAT Workshops on a General Theory of Software Engineering (GTSE):

- GTSE 2012 [doi:10.1145/2439976.2439999]
- GTSE 2013 [doi:10.1145/2507288.2529923]
(co-located with ICSE 2013, San Francisco, CA, USA)
- GTSE 2014
(co-located with ICSE 2014, Hyderabad, India)


For more information, please contact one of the guest editors:

Dr. Klaas-Jan Stol (main contact)
Email: klaas-jan.stol@lero.ie

Prof Dr. Michael Goedicke
Email: michael.goedicke@paluno.uni-due.de

Dr. Ivar Jacobson
Email: ivar@ivarjacobson.com