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Journal of Computer Languages (COLA) (Elsevier)

Special issue on "Methods, Tools and Languages for Model-driven Engineering and Low-code Development"

Guest Editors:

Geylani Kardas, Ege University, Turkey (

Federico Ciccozzi, Mälardalen University, Sweden (

Ludovico Iovino, Gran Sasso Science Institute, Italy (

Model-driven engineering (MDE) has been applied for many years to reduce the complexity of developing systems and software in various domains including automotive, cyber-physical systems, defense industry, embedded systems and telecommunication. Models are being used throughout MDE processes for providing higher abstract representations of real problems as well as for supporting the communication and knowledge sharing between the engineers and for generating artifacts by automatically manipulating and transforming models. In this context, research has focused on multiple aspects of definition, maintenance and evolution of meta-models and modeling languages, definition and evaluation of model-driven methodologies, and provision of automated development support in terms of model-driven computer-aided software engineering (CASE) tools. However, there are still many challenges related to the adoption and application of MDE especially when coping with the heterogeneity and the scalability of modern systems as well as the need to manage variability and complexity of interrelated models. Quality of methodologies and techniques is important for MDE to continue being successful and winning the reluctance of adopting it in industry. Frameworks and methods to systematically evaluate applied MDE approaches possibly with some predefined quantitative and qualitative metrics / criteria are very much needed.

Most MDE processes entail the use of domain-specific modeling languages (DSMLs) to some extent. The literature is rich with successful stories on the practical use of DSMLs. However, as their use becomes widespread, new challenges, especially related to co-evolution, usability, and collaboration across DSMLs arise and shall be investigated thoroughly.

Recently, industry has focused on low-code development (LCD) technologies for the creation of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solutions. Software companies such as Mendix, Salesforce, Outsystems provide LCD tools for their customers to develop and manage enterprise applications rapidly and develop the code at a very fast rate, reducing the traditional programming efforts. While using these tools, the developers benefit from modeling and MDE, e.g. with built-in graphical application development editors. But the cost of adopting LCD methodologies and evaluation of using them in various industries need further investigation.

The main goal of this special issue is to gather the most recent theoretical and practical studies on the interplay of MDE and LCD along with the above mentioned research challenges and directions. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

* Metamodeling for MDE and LCD

* Modeling languages for MDE and LCD

* Multi-view, Multi-paradigm and Blended modeling

* Model transformation languages and model transformations processes

* New MDE techniques / methodologies

* Design and implementation of DSMLs for various domains

* Model-driven architectures

* Model evolution, differencing and versioning approaches

* Artificial Intelligence for MDE (e.g. machine learning of models, model inference, application of meta-heuristics to MDE problems)

* MDE for AI-based system development

* New LCD techniques / methodologies

* Quality aspects of applying MDE and LCD

* Industrial applications of MDE and LCD

* Empirical evaluation of MDE and LCD

* Case studies and lessons learned in applying MDE and LCD

* Tools on system modeling, MDE and LCD

* Systematic mapping and systematic literature reviews on modeling, MDE and LCD

* BPMN modeling


Important Dates:

August 1, 2021: Deadline for registering interest in making a submission (by e-mail to the guest editors)

November 1, 2021: Full paper submission deadline

February 1, 2022: 1st round of reviews

February 15, 2022: Notification for authors

May 1, 2022: Submission deadline for revised papers

July 1, 2022: 2nd round of reviews

August 1, 2022: Camera ready final manuscript


Submission Guidelines:

The work submitted should not be previously published or submitted elsewhere for publication. In case the authors are extending a previous conference version, the submitted article should contain at least 30% of entirely new material. Also, the authors are requested to attach the previous published conference version and explain the novelty of their extended version, submitted for journal publication. The authors should refer to “Guide for Authors” at to see the expected manuscript format. The manuscripts along with all the required supplementary material should be submitted using the Editorial Manager ( The authors should choose “SI: MDE&LCD” when they reach the “Article Type” step of the submission process. The manuscripts will be reviewed according to COLA reviewing policies using the Editorial Manager system. For further questions and queries, contact the corresponding guest editors.