Characterizing industry-academia collaborations in software engineering: evidence from 101 projects

Vahid Garousi*, Dietmar Pfahl, João M. Fernandes, Michael Felderer, Mika V. Mäntylä, David Shepherd, Andrea Arcuri, Ahmet Coşkunçay, Bedir Tekinerdogan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
177 Downloads (Pure)


Research collaboration between industry and academia supports improvement and innovation in industry and helps ensure the industrial relevance of academic research. However, many researchers and practitioners in the community believe that the level of joint industry-academia collaboration (IAC) projects in Software Engineering (SE) research is relatively low, creating a barrier between research and practice. The goal of the empirical study reported in this paper is to explore and characterize the state of IAC with respect to industrial needs, developed solutions, impacts of the projects and also a set of challenges, patterns and anti-patterns identified by a recent Systematic Literature Review (SLR) study. To address the above goal, we conducted an opinion survey among researchers and practitioners with respect to their experience in IAC. Our dataset includes 101 data points from IAC projects conducted in 21 different countries. Our findings include: (1) the most popular topics of the IAC projects, in the dataset, are: software testing, quality, process, and project managements; (2) over 90% of IAC projects result in at least one publication; (3) almost 50% of IACs are initiated by industry, busting the myth that industry tends to avoid IACs; and (4) 61% of the IAC projects report having a positive impact on their industrial context, while 31% report no noticeable impacts or were “not sure”. To improve this situation, we present evidence-based recommendations to increase the success of IAC projects, such as the importance of testing pilot solutions before using them in industry. This study aims to contribute to the body of evidence in the area of IAC, and benefit researchers and practitioners. Using the data and evidence presented in this paper, they can conduct more successful IAC projects in SE by being aware of the challenges and how to overcome them, by applying best practices (patterns), and by preventing anti-patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2540-2602
Number of pages63
JournalEmpirical Software Engineering
Issue number4
Early online date23 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Anti-patterns
  • Best practices
  • Challenges
  • Empirical study
  • Evidence
  • Industry-academia collaborations
  • Patterns
  • Software engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software


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