The social network perspective has served as a useful framework for studying scientific research collaboration in different disciplines. Although collaboration in computer science research has received some attention, software engineering research collaboration has remained unexplored to a large extent. In this paper, we examine the collaboration networks based on co-authorship information of papers from ten software engineering publication venues over the 1976-2010 time period. We compare time variations of certain parameters of these networks with corresponding parameters of collaboration networks from other disciplines. We also explore whether software engineering collaboration networks manifest symptoms of the small-world phenomenon, conform to the criteria of "social networks", and manifest increasing collaboration with time. In the light of these observations, we highlight some general characteristics of collaboration in software engineering research. The results presented in this paper facilitate understanding of the progression of software engineering from its infancy to maturity, and lay the foundation for developing theoretical models to explain the evolution of its research collaboration characteristics. © 2012 ACM.