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Protocols in the use of empirical software engineering artifacts

: Basili, V.R.; Zelkowitz, M.V.; Sjoberg, D.I.K.; Johnson, P.; Cowling, A.J.


Empirical Software Engineering 12 (2007), No.1, pp.107-119
ISSN: 1382-3256
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IESE ()

If empirical software engineering is to grow as a valid scientific endeavor, the ability to acquire, use, share, and compare data collected from a variety of sources must be encouraged. This is necessary to validate the formal models being developed within computer science. However, within the empirical software engineering community this has not been easily accomplished. This paper analyses experiences from a number of projects, and defines the issues, which include the following: (1) How should data, testbeds, and artifacts be shared? (2) What limits should be placed on who can use them and how? How does one limit potential misuse? (3) What is the appropriate way to credit the organization and individual that spent the effort collecting the data, developing the testbed, and building the artifact? (4) Once shared, who owns the evolved asset? As a solution to these issues, the paper proposes a framework for an empirical software engineering artifact agreement. Such an agreement is intended to address the needs for both creator and user of such artifacts and should foster a market in making available and using such artifacts. If this framework for sharing software engineering artifacts is commonly accepted, it should encourage artifact owners to make the artifacts accessible to others (gaining credit is more likely and misuse is less likely). It may be easier for other researchers to request artifacts since there will be a well-defined protocol for how to deal with relevant matters.