Challenges and best practices in industry-academia collaborations in software engineering: a systematic literature review

V. Garousi, K. Petersen, B. Ozkan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

151 Citations (Scopus)
733 Downloads (Pure)


Context: The global software industry and the software engineering (SE) academia are two large communities. However, unfortunately, the level of joint industry-academia collaborations in SE is still relatively very low, compared to the amount of activity in each of the two communities. It seems that the two ’camps’ show only limited interest/motivation to collaborate with one other. Many researchers and practitioners have written about the challenges, success patterns (what to do, i.e., how to collaborate) and anti-patterns (what not do do) for industry-academia collaborations.

Objective: To identify (a) the challenges to avoid risks to the collaboration by being aware of the challenges, (b) the best practices to provide an inventory of practices (patterns) allowing for an informed choice of practices to use when planning and conducting collaborative projects.

Method: A systematic review has been conducted. Synthesis has been done using grounded-theory based coding procedures.

Results: Through thematic analysis we identified 10 challenge themes and 17 best practice themes. A key outcome was the inventory of best practices, the most common ones recommended in different contexts were to hold regular workshops and seminars with industry, assure continuous learning from industry and academic sides, ensure management engagement, the need for a champion, basing research on real-world problems, showing explicit benefits to the industry partner, be agile during the collaboration, and the co-location of the researcher on the industry side.

Conclusion: Given the importance of industry-academia collaboration to conduct research of high practical relevance we provide a synthesis of challenges and best practices, which can be used by researchers and practitioners to make informed decisions on how to structure their collaborations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-127
Number of pages22
JournalInformation and Software Technology
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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