A bibliometric/geographic assessment of 40 years of software engineering research (1969-2009)

Vahid Garousi, Guenther Ruhe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
72 Downloads (Pure)


Bibliometric rankings are quite common in the field of software engineering. For example, there are a series of ranking repeated every year which identify the top researchers and institutions at the international level in the field. There are also other studies to determine the most cited articles in software engineering journals, the most popular research topics in this area, or identify the top researchers and institutions in regional levels. However, there exists no existing bibliometric quantitative analysis of publications in the area of software engineering (SE), including relative and absolute growth in the number of all SE publications as well as an analysis among countries. This is the main goal and motivation of this article. Besides, this study intends to provide an overall quantitative trend of the software engineering papers, and compare that trend to research output in other areas of science. The bibliometric study reported in this paper is motivated by the fact that understanding the amount of geographical research contributions to the field of software engineering can help identify different countries' level of commitment to support research activities in this area over years. We analyze how the contribution levels of top-ranked countries have changed over the years and how SE compares to other disciplines of engineering and science. Among the most interesting findings of this study are: (1) Over 40 years, in total about 60% of the SE literature has been contributed by only 7% of all countries, (2) the SE research output of different countries does not necessarily correlate with their GDPs, (3) the share of contributions to the SE discipline by the American researchers has declined from 71.43% (in 1980) to 14.90% (in 2008), and (4) China is the country with the biggest share growth in the number of publications (from 0.82% of the entire SE publications in 1991 to 13.82% in 2009).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1343-1366
JournalInternational Journal of Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2013


  • Bibliometric study
  • geographic bibliometric assessment
  • software engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Artificial Intelligence


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