See Research Software

Recognising research software as a first-class research output.
Software developers discussing about source code compiling discovers errors and asks the rest of the team for explanations
Who will benefit
Researchers writing analysis code, and the people and institutions supporting them

The Challenge

Software is not recognised as a first-class research output in the same way our journal papers and datasets are. Yet it deserves to be.

Making research software a first-class research output ensures Australia can maximise the value that software represents. A push for greater transparency is driving a change to make research software – especially in the form of analysis code – more available. Similarly, research software infrastructure’s role in underpinning research is largely invisible, making it hard to connect this endeavour to research impact.

The Response

Our research software program began with an activity to define a community-validated national agenda for research software. Informed by priorities raised during community validation, we’re now applying that framework to subsequent activities designed to see research software.

This project addresses the need for all forms of research software, but especially analysis code, to become more visible, including more:

  • shared, published or made available upon creation
  • cited or identified in reuse
  • captured in data provenance or workflows.

With our partners, we’re undertaking a range of activities to build areas of infrastructure, guidance, community and advocacy.

Who Will Benefit

All software creators benefit when research software is more visible and valued. Citation benefits creators with acknowledgment of the value of their work. Creators of underlying dependencies to analysis code benefit from the connection made between that underlying code and the research outcomes tied to the publications the analysis code accompanied.

Society at large benefits from greater transparency in research processes. Making code available – and especially analysis code – demonstrates the decisions made and methods used in preparing an analysis. More transparent research has potentially far-reaching benefits for the economy, environment and society.

The people and institutions who support research software creators will benefit from the policy and processes we’re developing to drive and support this culture change in Australia’s research sector.

The Partners

Partnerships in this project are made under specific activities:

Forming a new Visible Research Software Interest Group

To form a new Visible Research Software Interest Group, we are partnering with:

  • University of New South Wales (UNSW) Library
  • Australian BioCommons.

We are open to additional partners who may want to provide leadership in this space.

Policy analysis and advocacy

To conduct policy analysis and advocacy, we are partnering with:

Evidence gathering and guidance

To gather evidence and offer guidance, we are partnering with individuals from a range of Australian institutions. See the outcomes below for examples.

We are open to forming new partnerships in relation to any of the outcomes below.

Target Outcomes

This project will result in the following changes in infrastructure, guidance, community and advocacy. Specific outputs in support of these outcomes are listed below.


Identify and build nationally relevant infrastructure to make research software more visible.

Specific outputs and deliverables for this outcome include:

  • a report by Dr Frankie Stevens detailing how researchers find software, which was based on a survey of researchers conducted by the ARDC and delivered in 2022 – read the report and supplementary materials
  • a report by Dr Karthik Ram and Dr James Howison detailing possible new infrastructures for software visibility following their focus group studies – read the report.


Make it easier for research software to be visible, through presentations, events, materials, training and similar.

Specific outputs and deliverables for this outcome are captured on our page on making software visible. These include guides on:


The people to drive change in software visibility are brought together in a new community.

Specific outputs and deliverables for this outcome include the Visible Research Software Interest Group (VRSIG), now open to all those interested in making research software citable, published and FAIR. Read the report on the birds-of-a-feather (BoF) session for VRSIG at the 2023 eResearch Australasia conference.


Advocate to improve the visibility of research software through changes to policy and incentives.

Specific outputs and deliverables for this outcome include:

  • a software policy implementation guide for institutional policy development (in development)
  • activities to adopt and socialise the FAIR4RS principles – for more details, watch our presentation at the Workshop on Sustainable Software Sustainability
  • co-leadership in Research Software Alliance Task Forces to improve policy for code availability, and to collate and share institutional policies
  • a FAIR4RS badging tool for authors of research software (under development with the Netherlands eScience Center).

Additional activities will be developed and will deliver new outputs over the course of the project. If you would like to propose or partner in an activity in any of these areas, please get in contact.

Contact the ARDC

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



Current Phase

In progress

Project lead

Dr Tom Honeyman, ARDC


Research Topic