Call for Papers: Special Issue on Bots in Software Engineering
IEEE Software seeks submissions for this special issue.

Submission deadline: 13 December 2021

Publication: September/October 2022

Bots (short for software robots) are software applications that perform often repetitive or simple tasks. As an interface to integrate humans and services, the ability of providing output on the humans’ communication channel is the core characteristic that distinguishes bots from other tools. In particular, social and chat bots interacting with humans are a recent research topic. Similarly, bots can be used to automate many tasks that are performed by software practitioners and teams in their day-to-day work. Recent work argues that bots can save developers’ time and significantly increase productivity. Therefore, the goal of this special issue is to bring together software engineering researchers and practitioners to advance the understanding and development of bots in software engineering.

Papers may address issues along the general themes, including, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Using bots to derive software requirements and documentation
  • Using bots in the context of the reliability and quality of software systems
  • Using bots as assistants in the development of software systems
  • Using bots to support software system release and deployment
  • Using bots to enhance and support testing and maintenance of software systems
  • Supporting and answering developer questions using bots
  • Supporting and answering user questions about the software using bots
  • Using bots to ensure the safety, security, privacy, and trustworthiness of software systems
  • Bots to ensure a healthy community for (open-source) projects, e.g. bots as moderators to block toxic comments or bots favoring diversity
  • Effective processes  for  the  development of bot-based software
  • Privacy  and  ethics  issues  related  to  the  use  of  bots  in software systems
  • Issues in the interaction of bots and developers and other stakeholders
  • Socio-technical factors for software engineering bots
  • Experiences using bot frameworks in software systems
  • Development of software bots
  • Using bots in software engineering education

Submission Guidelines

Manuscripts must not exceed 3,000 words, including figures and tables, which count for 250 words each. Submissions in excess of these limits may be rejected without refereeing. The articles we deem within the theme and scope will be peer reviewed and are subject to editing for magazine style, clarity, organization, and space. Be sure to include the name of the theme to which you’re submitting.

Articles should have a practical orientation and be written in a style accessible to practitioners. Overly complex, purely research-oriented or theoretical treatments aren’t appropriate. Articles should be novel. IEEE Software doesn’t republish material published previously in other venues, including other periodicals and formal conference or workshop proceedings, whether previous publication was in print or electronic form.
Before submitting, please read our author guidelines. When you are ready to submit, please go to ScholarOne.


For more information about the focus of the special issue, contact the guest editors at

Guest editors:

  • Emad Shihab
  • Stefan Wagner
  • Marco A. Gerosa
  • Mairieli Wessel
  • Jordi Cabot

For questions about the ScholarOne system, email

Special Issue on Bots in Software Engineering
13 December 2021