Grey Literature Versus Academic Literature in Software Engineering: A Call for Epistemological Analysis

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Abstract

To learn about novel software engineering (SE) trends, where do you refer to? In order to document and disseminate their experience / knowledge, many SE practitioners prepare technical materials and share them online as blog posts, white papers and videos. Such materials are often called “grey literature” because they are not formally peer reviewed. By contrast, SE researchers write technical papers that are peer-reviewed and published as academic literature. We observe that, in general, these two communities mostly read literature that is only written by and published within their respective communities. This situation has led to a form of “knowledge divide” between the two communities that, we believe, hurts both communities. By characterizing and contrasting the two types of literature, grey and academic, we discuss how each literature can complement the other and can lead to a richer and more integrated knowledge exchange and dissemination in SE.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Software
Early online date09 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 09 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • academic literature
  • evidence-based software engineering
  • Grey literature
  • information needs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software

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