Impact of Software Engineering Research in Practice

by   Zoe Kotti, et al.

Existing work on the practical impact of software engineering (SE) research examines industrial relevance rather than adoption of study results, hence the question of how results have been practically applied remains open. To answer this and investigate the outcomes of impactful research, we performed a quantitative and qualitative analysis of 4,335 SE patents citing 1,668 SE papers published between 1975-2017. Moreover, we conducted a survey study on 413 authors of 501 top-cited and awarded publications, achieving 25 rate. Overall, researchers have equipped practitioners with various tools, processes, and methods, and improved many existing products. SE practice seems to value knowledge-seeking research and is impacted by diverse cross-disciplinary SE areas. Practitioner-oriented publication venues appear more impactful than researcher-, while industry-related tracks in conferences could enhance their impact. Some research works did not reach a wide footprint due to limited funding resources or unfavorable cost-benefit tradeoff of the proposed solutions. The need for higher funding in SE research could be corroborated through a dedicated empirical study. In general, the assessment of impact is subject to its definition. Therefore, academia and industry could jointly agree on a formal description to set a common ground for subsequent research on the topic.


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