Standing on Shoulders or Feet? The Usage of the MSR Data Papers
Introduction: The establishment of the Mining Software Repositories (MSR) Data Showcase conference track has encouraged researchers to provide more data sets as a basis for further empirical studies.
Methods: Data track papers were collected from the MSR Data Showcase and through the manual inspection of older MSR proceedings. The use of data papers was established through citation searching followed by reading the studies that have cited them. Data papers were then clustered based on their content, whereas their citations were classified according to the knowledge areas of the Guide to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge.
Results: We found that 65% of the data papers have been used in other studies, with a long-tail distribution in the number of citations. MSR data papers are cited less than other MSR papers. A considerable number of the citations stem from the teams that authored the data papers. Publications providing repository data and metadata are the most frequent data papers and the most often cited ones. Mobile application data papers are the least common ones, but the second most frequently cited.
Conclusion: Data papers have provided the foundation for a significant number of studies, but there is room for improvement in their utilization. This can be done by setting a higher bar for their publication, by encouraging their use, and by providing incentives for the enrichment of existing data collections.