A Study on the Prevalence of Human Values in Software Engineering Publications, 2015 – 2018
Failure to account for human values in software (e.g., equality and fairness) can result in user dissatisfaction and negative socio-economic impact. Engineering these values in software, however, requires technical and methodological support throughout the development life cycle. This paper investigates to what extent top Software Engineering (SE) conferences and journals have included research on human values in SE. We investigate the prevalence of human values in recent (2015 - 2018) publications in these top venues. We classify these publications, based on their relevance to different values, against a widely used value structure adopted from the social sciences. Our results show that: (a) only a small proportion of the publications directly consider values, classified as directly relevant publications; (b) for the majority of the values, very few or no directly relevant publications were found; and (c) the prevalence of directly relevant publications was higher in SE conferences compared to SE journals. This paper shares these and other insights that may motivate future research on human values in software engineering.