Write a Blog >>
ICSE 2021
Sat 22 - Sun 30 May 2021 Madrid, Spain

Artifacts play a vital role in Software Engineering research and constitute, according to ACM’s Artifact Review and Badging policy, a “digital object that was either created by the authors to be used as part of the study or generated by the experiment itself.” Artifacts can be software systems, scripts used to run experiments, input datasets, raw data collected in the experiment, or scripts used to analyze results. High quality artifacts of published research papers increase the likelihood that results can be independently replicated and reproduced by other researchers.

In this spirit, the artifacts track aims to review, promote, share, and catalog the research artifacts of accepted software engineering papers. Authors of the papers accepted to the Technical Track can submit an artifact for evaluation as a candidate reusable, available, replicated or reproduced artifact. As previous year, authors of any prior SE work (published at ICSE or elsewhere) are also invited to submit an artifact for evaluation as a candidate replicated or reproduced artifact. The top two artifacts selected by the program committee will be awarded the best artifact awards.

Call For Artifact Submissions

Authors of papers accepted to the 2021 Technical/SEIP/NIER/SEET/SEIS Track are invited to submit artifacts associated with those papers to the ICSE Artifact Track for evaluation as candidate reusable, available, replicated or reproduced artifacts. If those artifact(s) are accepted, they will each receive one (and only one) of the badges below on the front page of the authors’ paper and in the proceedings.

Authors of any prior SE research work (published at ICSE or elsewhere) are invited to submit an artifact to the ICSE Artifact Track for evaluation as a candidate replicated or reproduced artifact. If the artifact is accepted:

  • Authors will be invited to give lightning talks on this work at ICSE’21
  • We will do our best to work with the IEEE Xplore and ACM Portal administrator to add badges to the electronic versions of the authors’ paper(s).


Functional Reusable Available Replicated Reproduced
No Badge
Artifacts documented, consistent, complete, exercisable, and include appropriate evidence of verification and validation Functional + very carefully documented and well-structured to the extent that reuse and repurposing is facilitated. In particular, norms and standards of the research community for artifacts of this type are strictly adhered to. Functional + placed on a publicly accessible archival repository. A DOI or link to this repository along with a unique identifier for the object is provided. Available + main results of the paper have been obtained in a subsequent study by a person or team other than the authors, using, in part, artifacts provided by the author. Available + the main results of the paper have been independently obtained in a subsequent study by a person or team other than the authors, without the use of author-supplied artifacts.

Papers with such badges contain reusable products that other researchers can use to bootstrap their own research. Experience shows that such papers earn increased citations and greater prestige in the research community. Artifacts of interest include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Software, which are implementations of systems or algorithms potentially useful in other studies.

  • Data repositories, which are data (e.g., logging data, system traces, survey raw data) that can be used for multiple software engineering approaches.

  • Frameworks, which are tools and services illustrating new approaches to software engineering that could be used by other researchers in different contexts.

This list is not exhaustive, so the authors are asked to email the chairs before submitting if their proposed artifact is not on this list. Further information on data sharing principles and approaches are further introduced along an introduction of the general notion of open science in the book chapter Open Science in Software Engineering: https://arxiv.org/abs/1904.06499

Important Dates

Artifacts Evaluation Pre-submission Registration Deadline: 15 January 2021 (mandatory)

Artifact Evaluation Submissions Deadline: 22 January 2021

Artifact Evaluation Acceptance Notification: 24 February 2021

Evaluation Criteria

The ICSE artifact evaluation track uses a single-blind review process. Artifacts will be evaluated using the criteria in the last row of the above table.The goal of this track is to encourage reusable research products. Hence, no functional badges will be awarded.

Best Artifact Awards

There will be two ICSE 2021 Best Artifact Awards to recognize the effort of authors creating and sharing outstanding research artifacts.

Submission and Review

IMPORTANT NOTE: different badges have different submission procedures. See below.

For Replicated and Reproduced Badges

For “replicated” and “reproduced” badges, authors will need to offer appropriate documentation that their artifacts have reached that stage.

By January 15, 2021 register your research artifact at the ICSE EasyChair site by submitting a one page (max) abstract in PDF format describing your artifact.

The abstract should include the paper title, the purpose of the research artifact, the badge(s) you are claiming, and the technology skills assumed by the reviewer evaluating the artifact. Please also mention if running your artifact requires specific Operating Systems or other environments.

  • TITLE: A (Partial)? (Replication|Reproduction) of XYZ . Please add the term partial to your title if only some of the original work could be replicated/reproduced.
  • WHO: name the original authors (and paper) and the authors that performed the replication/reproduction. Include contact information and mark one author as the corresponding author.
    IMPORTANT : include also a web link to a publically available URL directory containing (a) the original paper (that is being reproduced) and (b) any subsequent paper(s)/documents/reports that do the reproduction.
    IMPORTANT : include also a web link to a publically available URL directory containing (a) the original paper (that is being reproduced) and (b) any subsequent paper(s)/documents/reports that do the reproduction.
  • WHAT: describe the “thing” being replicated/reproduced;
  • WHY: clearly state why that “thing” is interesting/important;
  • HOW: say how it was done first;
  • WHERE: describe the replication/reproduction. If the replication/reproduction was only partial, then explain what parts could be achieved or had to be missed.
  • DISCUSSION: What aspects of this “thing” made it easier/harder to replicate/reproduce. What are the lessons learned from this work that would enable more replication/reproduction in the future for other kinds of tasks or other kinds of research.

Two PC members will review each abstract, possibly reaching out to the authors of the abstract or original paper. Abstracts will be ranked as follows.

  • If PC members do not find sufficient substantive evidence for replication/reproduction, the abstract will be rejected.
  • Any abstract that is judged to be unnecessarily critical of prior work will be rejected (*).
  • The remaining abstracts will be sorted according to (a) how interesting they are to the community and (b) their correctness.
  • The top ranked abstracts will be invited to give lightning talks.

(*) Our goal is to foster a positive environment that supports and rewards researchers for conducting replications and reproductions. To that end, we require that all abstracts and presentations pay due respect to the work they are reproducing/replicating. Criticism of prior work is acceptable only as part of a balanced and substantive discussion of prior accomplishments.

For Reusable and Available Badges

Only authors of papers accepted to the 2021Technical/SEIP/NIER/SEET/SEIS Track can submit candidate reusable or available artifacts.

By January 15, 2021 register your research artifact at the ICSE EasyChair site by submitting a one page (max) abstract in PDF format describing your artifact.

For the reusable and available badges, authors must offer “download information” showing how reviewers can access and execute (if appropriate) their artifact.

Authors must perform the following steps to submit an artifact:

  1. Preparing the artifact
  2. Making the artifact publicly available (by using repositories granting public access)
  3. Documenting the artifact
  4. Submitting the artifact


1. Preparing the Artifact

There are two options depending on the nature of the artifacts: Installation Package or Simple Package. In both cases, the configuration and installation for the artifact should take less than 30 minutes. Otherwise, the artifact is unlikely to be endorsed simply because the committee will not have sufficient time to evaluate it.

Installation Package. If the artifact consists of a tool or software system, then the authors need to prepare an installation package so that the tool can be installed and run in the evaluator’s environment. Provide enough associated instruction, code, and data such that some CS person with a reasonable knowledge of scripting, build tools, etc. could install, build, and run the code. If the artifact contains or requires the use of a special tool or any other non-trivial piece of software the authors must provide a VirtualBox VM image or a Docker container image with a working environment containing the artifact and all the necessary tools.

We expect that the artifacts have been vetted on a clean machine before submission.

Simple Package. If the artifact only contains documents which can be used with a simple text editor, a PDF viewer, or some other common tool (e.g., a spreadsheet program in its basic configuration) the authors can just save all documents in a single package file (zip or tar.gz).


2. Making the Artifact Available

The authors need to make the packaged artifact (installation package or simple package) available so that the Evaluation Committee can access it. We suggest a link to a public repository (e.g., GitHub) or to a single archive file in a widely available archive format.

If the authors are aiming for the badges “available” and beyond, the artifact needs to be publicly accessible. In other cases, the artifacts do not necessarily have to be publicly accessible for the review process. In this case, the authors are asked to provide a private link or a password-protected link. In any case, we encourage the authors to use permanent repositories dedidated at data sharing where no registration is necessary for those accessing the artifacts (e.g., please avoid using services such as GoogleDrive).


3. Documenting the Artifact

The authors need to write and submit a documentation explaining how to obtain the artifact package, how to unpack the artifact, how to get started, and how to use the artifacts in more detail. The artifact submission must only describe the technicalities of the artifacts and uses of the artifact that are not already described in the paper.

The submission should contain the following documents (in plain text or pdf format) in a zip archive:

  • A README main file describing what the artifact does and where it can be obtained (with hidden links and access password if necessary). Also, there should be a clear description how to reproduce the results presented in the paper.
  • A STATUS file stating what kind of badge(s) the authors are applying for as well as the reasons why the authors believe that the artifact deserves that badge(s).
  • A LICENSE file describing the distribution rights. Note that to score “available” or higher, then that license needs to reflect some form of open source license.
  • An INSTALL file with installation instructions (if any). These instructions should include notes illustrating a very basic usage example or a method to test the installation. This could be, for instance, on what output to expect that confirms that the code is installed and working; and the code is doing something interesting and useful.
  • A copy of the accepted paper in pdf format.


4. Submitting the Artifact

By January 15, 2021 register your research artifact at the ICSE EasyChair site by submitting an abstract describing your artifact. The abstract should include the paper title, the purpose of the research artifact, the badge(s) you are claiming, and the technology skills assumed by the reviewer evaluating the artifact. Please also mention if running your artifact requires specific Operation Systems or other environments.

By January 22, 2021 complete your artifact submission by uploading the zip archive containing the documentation.

Before the actual evaluation, reviewers will check the integrity of the artifact and look for any possible setup problems that may prevent it from being properly evaluated (e.g., corrupted or missing files, VM won’t start, immediate crashes on the simplest example, etc.).

The Evaluation Committee may contact the authors within the Rebuttal Period to request clarifications on the basic installation and start-up procedures or to resolve simple installation problems. Authors are informed of the outcome and, in case of technical problems, they can help solve them during a brief author response period.

Given the short review time available, the authors are expected to respond within a 48-hour period. Authors may update their research artifact after submission only for changes requested by reviewers in the rebuttal phase. Author submitting an open source repository link, are expected to give a tag to time-stamp your submission.


Finally, further information will be constantly made available on the website https://conf.researchr.org/track/icse-2021/icse-2021-Artifact-Evaluation.

In case of questions, please do not hesitate contacting the chairs.

Looking forward to welcome you soon in Madrid!

Silvia Abrahão, Daniel Mendez