G. Buchgeher, S. Schöberl, V. Geist, B. Dorninger, P. Haindl, R. Weinreich: Using Architecture Decision Records in Open Source Projects - An MSR Study on GitHub, in Journal IEEE Access, doi: 10.1109/ACCESS.2023.3287654.
Architecture decision records (ADRs) have been proposed as a resource-efficient means for capturing architectural design decisions (ADDs), and have received attention not only from researchers but also from practitioners. We conducted a mining software repositories (MSR) study, in which we analyzed the use of ADRs in open source repositories at GitHub. Our results show that the adoption of ADRs is still low, although the number of repositories using ADRs is increasing every year. About 50% of all repositories with ADRs contain just one to five ADRs suggesting that the concept has been tried but not yet definitively adopted. In repositories that use ADRs more systematically, we observed that recording decisions is a team activity conducted by two or more users over a longer period of time. In most repositories the template proposed by Michael Nygrad is used. We, finally, provide an interpretation of the obtained results and discuss open future research challenges by elaborating on implications of the study’s findings as well as on recommendations on how to further increase the adoption of ADRs.