Enhancing Change Prediction Models using Developer-Related Factors

Gemma Catolino, Fabio Palomba, Andrea De Lucia, Filomena Ferrucci, Andy Zaidman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Continuous changes applied during software maintenance risk to deteriorate the structure of a system and are a threat to its maintainability. In this context, predicting the portions of source code where specific maintenance operations should be focused on may be crucial for developers to prevent maintainability issues. Previous work proposed change prediction models relying on product and process metrics as predictors of change-prone source code classes. However, we believe that existing approaches still miss an important piece of information, i.e., developer-related factors that are able to capture the complexity of the development process under different perspectives. In this paper, we firstly investigate three change prediction models that exploit developer-related factors (e.g., number of developers working on a class) as predictors of change-proneness of classes and then we compare them with existing models. Our findings reveal that these factors improve the capabilities of change prediction models. Moreover, we observed interesting complementarities among the prediction models. For this reason, we devised a novel change prediction model exploiting the combination of developer-related factors and product and evolution metrics. The results show that such a combined model is up to 22% more effective than the single models in the identification of change-prone classes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-28
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Systems and Software
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Change prediction
  • Mining software repositories
  • Empirical study


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