Privacy and Security in MSR Research



External Member

Dr Nicolas Diaz-Ferreyra, from Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH).


Mining Software Repositories (MSR) is a growing and popular discipline within Software Engineering (SE) research. Since their emergence in 2004, many investigations have analysed different aspects of MSR research. MSRs are often used for gathering interesting and actionable information about software systems/projects, which in turn allow researchers to (i) unveil issues and flaws in software development, and (ii) analyse the different factors contributing to them. However, this can also introduce threats to (indirect) participants' privacy as their identities may be linked to flawed/sub-optimal programming practices (e.g., code smells, improper documentation) or vice-versa. 


On this project, you will conduct a systematic literature review to understand what open science means for MSR research, how it affects participants' privacy and what are the major concerns. You will have to read a large number of papers, synthesise their content, and produce visualisations and analysis to create new knowledge. It is possible that you will also conduct an anonymous online survey to triangulate those results with your systematic literature review.


  • Programming knowledge, preferably either Python. Other languages are welcome but not needed.
  • Demonstrated academic writing skills.
  • Will to read a lot of papers and summarise information in spreadsheets.
  • Excellent attention to details.
Please, contact me via email with a detailed resume, and your comments (1 page only) on why you are interested in on this project.
Anybody is welcome to apply. However, female candidates (or female-identifying) are especially encouraged to submit.

Background Literature

M. Vidoni "A Systematic Process for Mining Software Repositories: Results from a Systematic Literature Review", Information and Software Tecnology, 2021. ISSN 0950-5849.
Staunton, C., Barragán, C.A., Canali, S. et al. "Open science, data sharing and solidarity: who benefits?". HPLS 43, 115 (2021).
Gold, N.E., Krinke J. "Ethical Mining: A Case Study on MSR Mining Challenges", 17th International Conference on Mining Software Repositories June 2020, pages 265–276


  • Privacy and Security
  • Systematic Literature Review
  • Mining Software Repositories

Updated:  10 August 2021/Responsible Officer:  Dean, CECS/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing