Use of Software Process in Research Software Development: A Survey


Background: Developers face challenges in building high-quality research software due to its inherent complexity. These challenges can reduce the confidence users have in the quality of the result produced by the software. Use of a defined software development process, which divides the development into distinct phases, results in improved design, more trustworthy results, and better project management. Aims: This paper focuses on gaining a better understanding of the use of software development process for research software. Method: We surveyed research software developers to collect information about their use of software development processes. We analyze whether and demographic factors influence the respondents’ use of and perceived value in defined process. Results: Based on 98 responses, research software developers appear to follow a defined software development process at least some of the time. The respondents also have a strong positive perception about the value of following processes. Conclusions: To produce high-quality and reliable research software, which is critical for many research domains, research software developers must follow a proper software development process. The results indicate a positive perception of value about using defined development processes that should lead to both short-term benefits through improved results and long-term benefits through more maintainable software.

Proceedings of the Evaluation and Assessment on Software Engineering (EASE) 2019