Three Special Issues on
Software Patents,
Software Licenses and Software Identity, and
Software Standards

Science of Computer Programming

Guest Editors:   Jan Bergstra and Paul Klint

Call for contributions

Dear Colleagues,

We have committed ourselves to edit three special issues for 'Science of Computer Programming'.

The themes will be:

With 300.000.000 Google hits (june 2005), Linux appears more visible on the internet than either London, Paris or Berlin. With 120.000.000 'open source' is extremely visible as well. The number of sites on software patents is practically uncountable. It is very difficult to get any overview of these matters through the web, but the importance as well as the appeal of these topics is phenomenal. The journal addresses many Software Engineering topics, however, its coverage of these crucial topics is minimal. Theoretical computer science literature pays no attention to these issues either and most communications on the web seem to be opinionated more than informative. For that reason we solicit papers (in electronic form) about the mentioned themes.

We are looking for new and original contributions satisfying the classical criteria of scientific publication. They should contain scientific work and be based on fact, proof or at least argument. Attempts to credit prior authors should be made. It will take many years to sort out the history of these themes since they are now going through such an enormous boom. Historical sections are therefore explicitly appreciated. If authors are not sure about the historic roots of their subject matter that should be clearly indicated rather than hidden.

Papers should make sense to a computer science audience, though papers from law, economy and history are very welcome. Nevertheless an awareness of computer science literature will be required. Authors from outside computer science who feel insufficiently informed about those matters can obtain some assistance from the editors.

Authors with a computer science background should take care not to present views on complementary areas of expertise like law and economy without proper reference or investigation. For instance, the viewpoint that software patents are bad for small companies would be considered problematic if it occurs without reference to relevant economic studies. One should acknowledge that such judgments might be supported or falsified through economic or legal research.

We would be happy to see the issues taking shape within a year for that reason we propose 1-1-2006 as a deadline for submissions. If that deadline causes difficulties authors should not hesitate to contact us. Below we give a non-exhaustive listing of subtopics for each theme. Papers that combine more than one of the themes will also be considered.



We have given a survey of issues in software patenting in our paper About trivial patents: the IsNot case. Of course the views in that paper are just ours and we hope to receive papers with (radically) different perspectives as well.

Topics include:



Software identity primarily refers to the concepts of closed, free and open software. An essential part of software identity are the rights for usage, modification and distribution of the software in question.

Topics include:



The interoperability of software systems requires standards in different flavors: proprietary standards, standards issued by international bodies like ISO, ANSI, IETF, and W3C, and de-facto standards.

Topics include:

Important dates

deadline for submission: January 1, 2006

notification of authors: April 1, 2006

final paper due: June 1, 2006

Electronic publication on Science Direct: September 2006

Hardcopy publication: expected in January 2007

The submissions should be sent in PDF to via email to the editorial assistant Bas van Vlijmen or directly to the editors: or Authors who want to discuss potential submissions are encouraged to contact the editors. For details about the policy of the Science of Computer Programming journal, and the requirements for prospective authors see a recent issue of the journal and check the journal's web site

Paper size
For each issue we look for around 10 papers with a paper length of 20 to 30 pages. Longer papers can in cases be accepted, please get in touch with the editors on this if your paper is considerably longer.

Elsevier strongly prefers LaTeX for the source document. For style files: go to the SCP site via and then click on 'guide for authors'. However, WORD of ASCII documents can also be processed. For plain texts WORD or ASCII is fine. However, WORD documents that are rich in formatting and mathematics take much extra time to process, also to the author because the text will be rekeyed. Here LaTeX is definitely the preferred format.

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We look forward to your contribution,

Jan Bergstra and Paul Klint


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