The idea in a nutshell: Reproducibility and Accessibility

The journal "Science of Computer Programming" of Elsevier Science has a long history of publishing high-quality articles on programming and software. The idea of this special issue on Experimental Software and Toolkits (EST) is to allow academic software developers to publish the software system they developed together with a (short) paper. We hope this will help the software community to find a wider audience for their work. Moreover, by enhancing the accessibility and the reproducibility of results, we hope to help to encourage a wider application and adoption of experimental software.

The first call for systems resulted in the special issue published as Volume 69, Numbers 1-3 of Science of Computer Programming. The second issue was published as special issue as Volume 72, Numbers 1-2 of Science of Computer Programming. The third issue was in cooperation with WASDeTT2008 and was published as third special issue as Volume 75, Number 4 of Science of Computer Programming. The fourth issue was in cooperation with WaSDETT 2010 and will be published later this year. Given the success of these special issues, a fifth special issue is planned, the deadline for submitting systems is the 2nd of November, 2012.

Aim and scope

Academic software development may involve the development of huge software systems in order to perform all kinds of experiments. This can be compared with huge experiments in physics or chemistry. The focus of researchers developing such experimental software systems is mainly on software development. The software developer has some idea, algorithmic or functional, and in order to prove his or her idea software is adapted or newly developed. Some of these systems are distributed to different researchers and may become very popular in the community. The software development of these systems is almost always in conflict with papers that are to be written. If the users community grows and the requests for enhancements and improvements increases, the effort to maintain the system may become overwhelming.

This EST initiative is focussed on the creation of a forum where beside the paper the software system itself is published. Two obvious questions arise here:

We want to invite authors to submit software systems together with a paper. For this special issue we solicit submissions about modelling tools which have been conceived to support the application of MDE in the development of software systems. We want to go one step further than the tool demonstrations at the various conferences, because the reviewers are invited to install and test the submitted systems. The software systems is reviewed on various aspects: The major improvement over the conference and workshop tool demonstration is that a broader audience is able to download, install, and use the system (in this respect we are also interested in Eclipse plug-ins); Elsevier will publish the software system as well.

Guidelines for authors

In order to submit a software system the author has to produce a tool description paper, we expect the size and quality of a research paper but the topic is on the tool, its usability, installation, and optionally a few words on tool building issues. The size of the tool description paper is at least 12 pages. The main goal of the paper is to introduce the tool, the application domain of the tool and to give a comparison with relevant related tools and systems. Moreover, relevant theory should concisely be addressed.

The requirements of the software system itself:


The submission deadline is November 2nd, 2012. Authors are requested to submit their system and corresponding paper electronically to EES in PDF format. We encourage the use of the Elsevier style file for LaTeX (see

To ensure that all manuscripts are correctly identified for inclusion into the special issue you are editing, it is important that authors select "SI: EST5" when they reach the "Article Type" step in the submission process.


The copyright of the articles is held, except where noted, by Elsevier Science. Copyright as well as other proprietary rights in the source code are held by the authors. By submitting the code along with the article, the authors have agreed to permit the readers of Science of Computer Programming the right to use the algorithms for personal and professional research use, but not for any further redistribution, further sub-licensing, or commercial use. All rights are otherwise reserved. Authors are thus free to distribute the published version of the source code via other media as well as to develop and distribute new versions of the source code.

Guest editors
Mark van den Brand
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Eindhoven University of Technical, The Netherlands
Davide di Ruscio
Dipartimento di Informatica
Università degli Studi dell'Aquila, Italy
Dimitris Kolovos
Department of Computer Science
University of York, UK
Louis Rose
Department of Computer Science
University of York, UK