Skip to main content
Log in

Empirical Software Engineering - Security Testing for Complex Software Systems (SECUTE)

Editors of the Special Issue

  • Valeria Pontillo, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Bruxelles, Belgium
  • Emanuele Iannone, Hamburg University of Technology, Hamburg, Germany
  • Coen De Roover, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Bruxelles, Belgium
  • Riccardo Scandariato, Hamburg University of Technology, Hamburg, Germany

Description of the Special Issue

This special issue in the Empirical Software Engineering journal is intended to provide practitioners and researchers with a venue to present insights, innovations, and solutions in security testing, with particular attention to complex and non-traditional software domains like AI, IoT, and Cyber-physical systems. This special issue is expected to (1) provide researchers with a comprehensive understanding of the current state of security testing by defining key terms, challenges, and opportunities in the field. (2) evaluate the applicability of existing testing strategies to complex domains and architectures, and (3) Design new strategies to implement security tests in complex software systems.

Submitted papers must have a strong empirical basis/component to be eligible for this special issue. Empirical Software Engineering ( provides a forum for applied software engineering research with a strong empirical component and a venue for publishing empirical results relevant to researchers and practitioners. In addition to the open call for papers, authors with an accepted paper to SECUTE 2024 ( are invited to submit extended versions of their work. To comply with the goals of a journal publication, we are asking to revise and substantially extend original SECUTE 2024 papers. Some possible extensions can include additional practical applications determined through case studies or experiments, additional empirical validation, systematic comparisons with other approaches, or a sound theoretical foundation. Revised papers should explicitly explain how they extend the original SECUTE 2024 papers.

All submissions will be reviewed using the Empirical Software Engineering Journal standards and undergo a rigorous review process. Reviews of extended papers may include reviewers of the SECUTE 2024 paper and new reviewers. The guest editors of the special issue are not permitted to submit.

Submitted papers should present original, unpublished work relevant to one of the topics of the Special Issue. All submitted papers will be evaluated on the basis of relevance, significance of contribution, technical quality, scholarship, and quality of presentation, by at least two independent reviewers. The journal's policy is that no submission, or substantially overlapping submission, be published or under review at another journal or conference at any time during the review process.

Submission Topics

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Studies on the effectiveness of security testing in complex architectures and systems, e.g., AI-enabled, cyber-physical, IoT, and Virtual Reality systems.
  • Adoption of security testing in non-source artifacts, like Infrastructure-as-Code scripts.
  • Empirical studies on security testing methodologies.
  • Presentation of novel methods for soliciting the adoption of security testing during the development.
  • Presentation of novel automated tools for security testing.
  • Evolution and improvement of existing methods and techniques for security testing.
  • Assessment or re-evaluation of existing automated tools for security testing.
  • User studies to understand the experience of software engineers working with security testing.
  • Case studies on real-world contexts where security testing practices are adopted.
  • Lessons learned and challenges faced while dealing with security in real-world complex systems.


Submission Deadline: October 31, 2024

Submission Instructions

Papers should be submitted through the Empirical Software Engineering editorial manager website ( as follows (1) select "Research Papers" and (2) later on the Additional Information page: Answer "Yes" to "Does this paper belong to a special issue?" and select "SECUTE 2024" for "Please select the issue your manuscript belongs to". For formatting guidelines as well as submission instructions, visit