Special Issue on "General Theories of Software Engineering"


Special Issue on General Theories of Software Engineering

in Science of Computer Programming,

published by Elsevier Science (http://www.elsevier.com/)

Submission deadline:   October 14, 2013

Most academic disciplines emphasize the importance of their general theories. Examples of general theories include the Big Bang theory, Maxwell's equations, the theory of the cell, the theory of evolution, the theory of demand and supply, but among the general theories are also found theories with names such as the general theory of crime and the theory of marriage, both well-established within their respective fields. Few general theories of software engineering have, however, been proposed, and none have achieved significant recognition. The main consequence of a lack of theory is a craft, limited to problem solving by trial-and-error and rules-of-thumb and in most cases only related to a limited area of relevance. Its knowledge base cannot be used for other than the most rudimentary predictions. This, in turn, means that its innovations can only be tested in vivo, which in addition to providing only little general insight can be both expensive and painful. The long list of well-known software failures is a testament to the tradition of trial-and-error. Theory addresses this problem, because a theory is a system of rules that explain the real world at some appropriate level of abstraction, but cheaply and without pain. Theory can provide answers to questions that otherwise might be prohibitively expensive or impossible to give. A general theory of software engineering would ideally advise against costly error before the trial begins.

This special issue, organized by the SEMAT initiative, aims to provide a forum for discussing the concept of a general theory of software engineering. The topics considered include the benefits, the desired qualities, the core components and the form of a general theory. Explicit proposals of general theories of software engineering are equally welcome. The special issue follows the publication of an article with the title "Where is the Theory for Software Engineering?" in September/October 2012 issue of IEEE Software, as well as two SEMAT Workshops on a General Theory of Software Engineering (GTSE 2012 [see technical program here] and 2013 [see technical program here]), the most recent in conjunction with the ICSE 2013 [see workshop program of ICSE here].

Manuscripts can be submitted online at Easy Chair here. All papers will be reviewed by at least three expert reviewers. Elsevier strongly prefers LaTeX. However, MS WORD of ASCII documents can also be processed. For plain texts, such a simple intro, WORD or ASCII is fine. Further information is available at the Science of Computer Programming journal's homepage.

Science of Computer Programming is indexed in all major databases. Its 5-year impact factor is currently 0.903.

Two notes:

  • Please see this link for details regarding Elsevier's templates. LaTeX is the preferred format. Authors should employ the elsarticle.cls. For Word there is no template.

  • For specially invited papers from the GTSE workshop, these need to be submitted in an extended version. Elsevier has this to say about extended versions:

If precursors of the special issue papers have been published in published conference proceedings, extra care needs to be taken to make sure that the papers can be considered new papers. Of course, it's hard to specify what is a new paper. The solution often lies in extension of the paper by adding proofs, firmer related work, extra background material, a twist towards the goals and themes of the special issue. Preferable, of course, are added new cases, new material, new insights. Make sure to reference the predecessor of the paper and tell the reader what's new.

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

Pontus Johnson (main contact)
KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Stockholm, Sweden

Michael Goedicke
University of Duisburg-Essen
Essen, Germany

Mathias Ekstedt
KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Stockholm, Sweden

Ivar Jacobson
Ivar Jacobson International
Verbier, Switzerland