Live from REFSQ’09: A Quantitative Assessment of Requirements Engineering Publications

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Al Davis from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs presented “A Quantitative Assessment of Requirements Engineering Publications from 1963-2008” that he and Ann Hickey (of the same university) put together as an assessment of the current volume and trends in requirements engineering (RE) publications. They have taken on the huge task of creating a bibliography of all RE-related papers they come across. Al started this back in 1989 for his Software Requirements: Analysis and Specification book in 1990 and has been updating it ever since.

You can find the full list of RE publications here.

Some stats that I found particularly interesting from his analysis (as of the data in 2008):

  • Approximately 5200 papers on REo 5973 unique authors
  • Today 10% of the authors of these papers are new to RE, 10 years ago this number was 40%
  • About 1/3 of all countries publish
  • The main conferences we publish at are: IEEE Requirements Engineering, INCOSE, REFSQ, IEEE COMPSAC, IEEE ICSE, IEEE HICSS, CAiSE
  • The top few periodicals we as a community publish in are: Springer RE, IEEE SW, IEEE TSE

Regarding the number of new authors to the field – I would be curious to understand what it looks like in related domains, for example all of software engineering. They propose a series of questions in the actual paper about why this may be the case. From a relatively “new” perspective, I will say that I continue to see more-or-less the same program committee members reviewing papers year after year, so I do have to wonder how much that plays in. But I also know some of them personally are excited to see new authors submit, so I have to believe they are trying to accept those papers when they are worthy.

And finally, this is quite interesting to wonder about – within country trends, they found that as a percent of the total publications the EU is increasing and the US is decreasing (quite significantly at about 10% over 2 years). So my comment to my European colleagues – well done! And my suggestion to my US colleagues – Let’s write!

For more interesting data and trendes, I encourage you to check out the actual paper.

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