Software Development Practices In Academia: A Case Study Comparison

Academic software development practices often differ from those of commercial development settings, yet only limited research has been conducted on assessing software development practices in academia. In this paper the authors present a case study of software development practices in four open-source scientific codes over a period of nine years, characterizing the evolution of their respective development teams, their scientific productivity, and the adoption (or discontinuation) of specific software engineering practices as the team size changes. The authors show that the transient nature of the development team results in the adoption of different development strategies. They relate measures of publication output to accumulated numbers of developers and find that for the projects considered the time-scale for returns on expended development effort is approximately three years.

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Published June 20, 2017

Contributor Christoph Junghans

D. Groen, X. Guo, J.A. Grogan, U.D. Schiller, J.M. Osborne, arXiv:1506.05272

This case study is extremely relevant for the better scientific software development as it shows the long term impacts of implementing certain software engineering policy and practices.