How many papers in a Swedish SE thesis?

Swedish PhD theses in Software Engineering are typically written as a collection of papers that have either been published or are in the process of being published. To give some general guidance to students and to be able to discuss what are minimum and expected levels for a software engineering thesis we (Feldt, Gorschek, Torkar and Svahnberg) have collected statistics from 8 Swedish universities. We also added one Norwegian University to be able to compare. Below you can see a summary of our results. This is from a paper that is currently being submitted; if you share this please be sure to refer back to this url for now. Since the data and statistics have not yet been through peer review the results are preliminary. However, we are confident there are no major errors. Thanks to Richard Berntsson Svensson, Daniel Sundmark and Thomas Nolte for their help in collecting the information.

"Swedish PhD theses in software engineering contained on average 7.0 papers out of which 5.3 were published (1.5 in journals, 3.1 in conferences and 0.8 in workshops). A PhD thesis in software engineering at the Norwegian university we included contained on average 5.2 papers out of which 4.0 were published (1.5 in journals, 2.0 in conferences and 0.5 in workshops). For the uniquely Swedish licentiate thesis in software engineering our data shows that they typically contain 4.2 papers out of which 3.4 were published (0.5 in journals, 2.2 in conferences and 0.7 in workshops). These descriptive statistics is currently (2012-02-08) based on 55 PhD theses (44 Swedish and 11 Norwegian) and 41 (Swedish) licentiate theses. A total of 8 Swedish universities were included.

We selected the theses that are either formally stated as being in the Software Engineering area, or were the research group that the student belonged to publishes in Software Engineering. A number of theses had to be excluded since we could not get ahold of them. The included theses were published in the time span from 1998 to 2012. For 2012 the data is only partial since it was collected in January of that year. The data is also partial for the early years in the time span covered since databases were not always available at the time."

There has been claims and hypotheses that the expectation on the number of papers in a thesis has increased slowly over the years. Based on the graphs below from our data these claims currently seem unsupported.

Barplot over published papers per PhD thesis over years Barplot over papers per PhD thesis over years Barplot over journal papers per PhD thesis over years