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Peer-Review Record

SOA-Based Platform Use in Development and Operation of Automation Solutions: Challenges, Opportunities, and Supporting Pillars towards Emerging Trends

Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(3), 1074; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12031074
Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(3), 1074; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12031074
Received: 10 December 2021 / Revised: 14 January 2022 / Accepted: 17 January 2022 / Published: 20 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Section Applied Industrial Technologies)

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

The authors must first define what kind of article they want to do: a research or a synthesis article (review).

From my point of view, the paper is not a research one, it is rather a review type - a synthesis work. It presents 5 frameworks with SOA architecture used for integration especially in the industrial environment. But I was not convinced by the work either as a research work or as a synthesis work.

1. If the paper is to be a research paper, I expect that the use cases mentioned in it will refer to some concrete examples in which the 5 frameworks will be applied. So I recommend the authors to present some concrete examples in which they used the SOA frameworks and paradigm in industry or in "automation processes" in general. This would result in some results that could be presented in the article as research. And novelty consist in applying that framework or that framework in a certain uses case. Instead, the authors presented only the projects in which those SOA frameworks were made - some of them are already quite mature (from 2006), used for quite some time. Honestly, if the purpose of the article was just to present the SOA paradigm and its advantages, we are talking about something already known. So, if the article aims to be a research one, I recommend the presentation of some applications to which the authors contributed in which they used those frameworks they are talking about.

 

2. If the paper is a synthesis (review) then it needs to be improved in terms of the type and number of SOA frameworks with applications in automation presented. For example, why were only those 5 frameworks chosen to be presented and not more or not others? Why WSO2 Enterprise Integrator is not presented too - a commercial solution that also implements the SOA paradigm and is used for integration. Or other such frameworks. In this case, the bibliographic references must be clearly improved in number and actuality. The only bibliographic reference from 2021 refers to the presentation web page for Arrowhead Framework - when it was accessed by the authors ... Otherwise we have only one reference from 2020. And the rest are from 2019 or older. It is not acceptable for a synthesis article to have only 2 references from the last 2 years. So I recommend that the authors increase the number of references and add more recent references - at least another 10-15 references from the last 2 years with SOA frameworks and applications with SOA.

Author Response

We would like to thank the reviewer for the constructive critique and suggestions of improvements. Herein follows the reviewer comments followed by response comments. All changes made are marked in yellow in the re-submitted manuscript.

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Reviewer 1

The authors must first define what kind of article they want to do: a research or a synthesis article (review).

From my point of view, the paper is not a research one, it is rather a review type - a synthesis work. It presents 5 frameworks with SOA architecture used for integration especially in the industrial environment. But I was not convinced by the work either as a research work or as a synthesis work.

  1. If the paper is to be a research paper, I expect that the use cases mentioned in it will refer to some concrete examples in which the 5 frameworks will be applied. So I recommend the authors to present some concrete examples in which they used the SOA frameworks and paradigm in industry or in "automation processes" in general. This would result in some results that could be presented in the article as research. And novelty consist in applying that framework or that framework in a certain uses case. Instead, the authors presented only the projects in which those SOA frameworks were made - some of them are already quite mature (from 2006), used for quite some time. Honestly, if the purpose of the article was just to present the SOA paradigm and its advantages, we are talking about something already known. So, if the article aims to be a research one, I recommend the presentation of some applications to which the authors contributed in which they used those frameworks they are talking about.

Response comment 1: The manuscript is indeed a research paper and we agree that it can be improved. We have therefore expanded with the presentation of the result of a literature review regarding automation platforms in development and operation of professional automation solutions. The analysis of this review resulted in concrete examples in terms of challenges, opportunities and supporting pillars towards emerging trends.

  1. If the paper is a synthesis (review) then it needs to be improved in terms of the type and number of SOA frameworks with applications in automation presented. For example, why were only those 5 frameworks chosen to be presented and not more or not others? Why WSO2 Enterprise Integrator is not presented too - a commercial solution that also implements the SOA paradigm and is used for integration. Or other such frameworks. In this case, the bibliographic references must be clearly improved in number and actuality. The only bibliographic reference from 2021 refers to the presentation web page for Arrowhead Framework - when it was accessed by the authors ... Otherwise we have only one reference from 2020. And the rest are from 2019 or older. It is not acceptable for a synthesis article to have only 2 references from the last 2 years. So I recommend that the authors increase the number of references and add more recent references - at least another 10-15 references from the last 2 years with SOA frameworks and applications with SOA.

 

Response comment 2: A number of relevant and recent references have been added. 

 

Author Response File: Author Response.docx

Reviewer 2 Report

The article is interesting and a good candidate for publication. Some major changes must be conducted before:

  1. The abstract is too long. Please abbreviate.
  2. About the novelty of the article. This is no justification for producing a manuscript: “The underlying reason to conduct the case study is that today’s problems related to development and operation of automation software, using traditional development and 1-to-1 integrations is not a viable option.” The authors must revise previous research to demonstrate they are adding something to existing knowledge and why it is important (who cares?)
  3. Following the previous topic, I consider that the introduction is the weak point of the article. The authors simply dissertate about the topic with their opinion. With due respect, this is not a valid approach. Please refer to previous research when elaborating the introduction. I recommend consulting good-quality papers for inspiration.
  4. “This paper addresses a case study, comprising five cases,”. Is it a multiple case study probably. But you are using a comparative approach? Please revise the sentence and explain the focus of your approach
  5. Non existing!!!!! This is totally vague: “s these occurred. The design of the case study included: formulating the study question, stating study propositions: (1) what do the case companies need to change, as well at their value-chain, in terms of e.g., interoperability, technology, development processes/practices, competencies/skills and infrastructure, in order to improve various parts of the lifecycle? Further, the unit of analysis was the organizational level of the 4 companies.” What is your protocol for the cases? What specific dimensions did you analyse? How? When? With which evidence? With whom?
  6. No discussion. This is another weak point. The authors must link their results with previous research, specifying where they align, contradict or advance existing knowledge. In the case of advancing knowledge, the authors must recognize this also in the introduction and abstract. Note that this topic is mandatory.
  7. Conclusions: lacks managerial implications

Good luck!

 

Author Response

General comment: We would like to thank the reviewer for the constructive critique and suggestions of improvements. Herein follows the reviewer comments followed by response comments. All changes made are marked in yellow in the re-submitted manuscript.

The article is interesting and a good candidate for publication. Some major changes must be conducted before:

  1. The abstract is too long. Please abbreviate.

Response comment 1: The abstract have been shortened to 199 words

  1. About the novelty of the article. This is no justification for producing a manuscript: “The underlying reason to conduct the case study is that today’s problems related to development and operation of automation software, using traditional development and 1-to-1 integrations is not a viable option.” The authors must revise previous research to demonstrate they are adding something to existing knowledge and why it is important (who cares?)

Response comment 2: Introduction has been altered and improved

  1. Following the previous topic, I consider that the introduction is the weak point of the article. The authors simply dissertate about the topic with their opinion. With due respect, this is not a valid approach. Please refer to previous research when elaborating the introduction. I recommend consulting good-quality papers for inspiration.

Response comment 3: The introduction has been re-rwitten to more clearly state the urgency and what this paper is intended to highlight. Additional references supporting the argumentation have been added

  1. “This paper addresses a case study, comprising five cases,”. Is it a multiple case study probably. But you are using a comparative approach? Please revise the sentence and explain the focus of your approach

Response comment 4:  The case case study has a summarizing approach and is not comparative. Text has been added to the introduction and also to the research approach, explaining the focus of the research presented in this paper

  1. Non existing!!!!! This is totally vague: “s these occurred. The design of the case study included: formulating the study question, stating study propositions: (1) what do the case companies need to change, as well at their value-chain, in terms of e.g., interoperability, technology, development processes/practices, competencies/skills and infrastructure, in order to improve various parts of the lifecycle? Further, the unit of analysis was the organizational level of the 4 companies.” What is your protocol for the cases? What specific dimensions did you analyse? How? When? With which evidence? With whom?

Response comment 5: In support of the case study we have now added a completely new presentation of the result of a literature review regarding application of automation platforms in development and operation of professional automation solutions. The analysis of this review resulted in concrete examples of how such frameworks have been implemented in terms of challenges, opportunities and supporting pillars towards emerging trends. The intention of the case-study is to reach quantifiable results in terms of improvements as well as what has to be changed around to reach such improvement.

  1. No discussion. This is another weak point. The authors must link their results with previous research, specifying where they align, contradict or advance existing knowledge. In the case of advancing knowledge, the authors must recognize this also in the introduction and abstract. Note that this topic is mandatory.

Response comment 6: See additions in section Discussion and conclusion, where the results are discussed (quantified vs. non.quantified results). This is linked to the introduction.

  1. Conclusions: lacks managerial implications

Response comment 7: The decision to move toward SOA based platform is a managerial decision which will not happen by doing incremental improvements and updates, thus the gist of the paper is aimed at highlighting the implications and effects which can be predicted in order to make this disruptive transition.

Good luck!

Author Response File: Author Response.docx

Round 2

Reviewer 1 Report

The paper is a review article that can be a starting point for research on the implementation of the SoA paradigm in industry. The authors responded to my comments - I have no further comment.

Reviewer 2 Report

Next time provide a revision report with the specific changes you made. Is too vague.

I wasn't totally satisfied with the discussion improvement.

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