CLOSED Call for Papers: Special Issue on the Diversity Crisis in Software Development

IEEE Software seeks submissions for this upcoming special issue.
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Submissions Due: 15 August 2020

Submission deadline: CLOSED

Publication: March/April 2021

The software development field employs few women and underrepresented minorities. Lack of diversity in software development teams is associated with lower productivity and innovation as well as software products that are less usable by certain populations. This special issue will highlight research identifying best practices, tools, and interventions related to equity, diversity, and inclusion in software development.

We invite papers reporting research utilizing a broad range of methodological approaches, including but not limited to case studies and quantitative and qualitative evaluations of interventions, tools, design, and ethnography and multi-method approaches. We solicit original research articles providing insight into diversity and inclusion in software development contexts, including but not limited to:

  • Industry practices
  • Organizational dynamics
  • Processes
  • Tools
  • Designs
  • Interventions 

In particular, we encourage submissions that address the many dimensions of diversity or an intersection of one or more of these, including:

  • Gender identity and expression
  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Geography
  • Disability
  • Sex characteristics
  • Level of experience
  • Nationality
  • Education level
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Cognitive style
  • Race and caste

Possible topics include but are not limited to: 

  • Unpacking the challenges of women in technology organizations
  • Investigating the lived experiences of underrepresented populations in software development
  • Understanding the barriers experienced by underrepresented groups in software teams
  • Exploring why underrepresented software developers choose to leave software development activities
  • Methods for developing inclusive designs
  • The impact of software development team diversity on products developed
  • Metrics for assessing levels of inclusion in software development team process
  • Longitudinal studies of minority software developers experiences 
  • Accessible tools for software development
  • Evaluating the influence of diversity and inclusion interventions
  • How diversity influences the sustainability of the software engineering workforce
  • The impact of diversity on creativity and innovation in software teams
  • How we can ensure representation of the user group in the tech workforce

We encourage submissions from interdisciplinary teams incorporating researchers from computer science and software engineering, as well as gender studies, sociology, anthropology and organization science. In this issue, we are also interested in best practices and interventions for diversity and inclusion in software development that have shown promising results in practice. If you have less experience with academic publishing within software engineering, the guest editors encourage you to reach out to explore partnerships with academic co-authors.

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 you’re submitting for.

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.

For general author guidelines:

To submit an article:


For more information about the focus, contact the guest editors at