Information and Software Technology

Identifying refactoring opportunities in process model repositories

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Context: In order to ensure high quality of a process model repository, refactoring operations can be applied to correct anti-patterns, such as overlap of process models, inconsistent labeling of activities and overly complex models. However, if a process model collection is created and maintained by different people over a longer period of time, manual detection of such refactoring opportunities becomes difficult, simply due to the number of processes in the repository. Consequently, there is a need for techniques to detect refactoring opportunities automatically. Objective: This paper proposes a technique for automatically detecting refactoring opportunities. Method: We developed the technique based on metrics that can be used to measure the consistency of activity labels as well as the extent to which processes overlap and the type of overlap that they have. We evaluated it, by applying it to two large process model repositories. Results: The evaluation shows that the technique can be used to pinpoint the approximate location of three types of refactoring opportunities with high precision and recall and of one type of refactoring opportunity with high recall, but low precision. Conclusion: We conclude that the technique presented in this paper can be used in practice to automatically detect a number of anti-patterns that can be corrected by refactoring. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


01 Sep 2011


Information and Software Technology