Quality, productivity and economic benefits of software reuse: a review of industrial studies
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- SINTEF Digital 
Original versionEmpirical Software Engineering, 2007, vol 12, no 5, pp 471-516
Systematic software reuse is proposed to increase productivity and software quality and lead to economic benefits. Reports of successful software reuse programs in industry have been published. However, there has been little effort to organize the evidence systematically and appraise it. This review aims to assess the effects of software reuse in industrial contexts. Journals and major conferences between 1994 and 2005 were searched to find observational studies and experiments conducted in industry, returning eleven papers of observational type. Systematic software reuse is significantly related to lower problem (defect, fault or error) density in five studies and to decreased effort spent on correcting problems in three studies. The review found evidence for significant gains in apparent productivity in three studies. Other significant benefits of software reuse were reported in single studies or the results were inconsistent. Evidence from industry is sparse and combining results was done by vote-counting. Researchers should pay more attention to using comparable metrics, performing longitudinal studies, and explaining the results and impact on industry. For industry, evaluating reuse of COTS or OSS components, integrating reuse activities in software processes, better data collection and evaluating return on investment are major challenges.