Reproducibility and Replicability of Web Measurement Studies


Konferenz / Medium


Demir, Nurullah Pohlmann, Norbert Holz, Thorsten Wressnegger, Christian Urban, Tobias Große-Kampmann, Matteo

Research Hub

Research Hub C: Sichere Systeme
Research Hub D: Benutzerfreundlichkeit

Research Challenges

RC 7: Building Secure Systems
RC 10: Engineers and Usability


Web measurement studies can shed light on not yet fully understood phenomena and thus are essential for analyzing how the modern Web works. This often requires building new and adjusting existing crawling setups, which has led to a wide variety of analysis tools for different (but related) aspects. If these efforts are not sufficiently documented, the reproducibility and replicability of the measurements may suffer—two properties that are crucial to sustainable research. In this paper, we survey 117 recent research papers to derive best practices for Web-based measurement studies and specify criteria that need to be met in practice. When applying these criteria to the surveyed papers, we find that the experimental setup and other aspects essential to reproducing and replicating results are often missing. We underline the criticality of this finding by performing a large-scale Web measurement study on 4.5 million pages with 24 different measurement setups to demonstrate the influence of the individual criteria. Our experiments show that slight differences in the experimental setup directly affect the overall results and must be documented accurately and carefully.


Web Security
Network Measurements