Sustain Research Software

Recognising research software as a first-class research output.
research software,advances in research software,Sustain Research Software
Sustain Research Software
Project lead
Dr Tom Honeyman, ARDC
Who will benefit
Developers and maintainers of research software infrastructure and the people and institutions supporting them



Current Phase

In progress

ARDC Co-investment

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. Research software infrastructure is software capturing ideas, methods and models that are more broadly accepted and needed to do research. Even though it underpins a range of research areas, it struggles to be maintained. Developers and maintainers of this infrastructure also struggle with career stability and recognition.

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 sustain research software.

Sustainable research software:

  • is enabled by roles which are themselves stable, inclusive, supported and valued
  • has viable pathways to maintenance.

Best practice software engineering is also a feature of sustainable software. For more information read about our Shape Research Software project.

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

Who Will Benefit

Both creators and users of research software infrastructure will benefit from greater stability and continuity. Robust research software infrastructure, providing accepted methods and models used across all areas of research has clear benefits for the economy, environment and society.

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

The Partners

Our partners for this project are:

  • Research Software Engineers Association of Australia and New Zealand (RSE-AUNZ)
  • Research Software Alliance

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers hosted a Software as a first-class research output podcast featuring the ARDC. In this episode Professor Rob Hyndman described a recent policy development at the Monash Business School to recognise software outputs in that faculty for the purposes of career progression.

Target Outcomes

This project will result in the following outcomes:

  • Infrastructure (research software capability – soft infrastructure): The Research Software Capability in Australia report analysing the results of a survey to measure the scale and distribution of software engineering and development capability for Australian research organisations
  • Guidance: events and guidance on Sustaining Research Software
  • Community: through RSE-AUNZ activities
  • Advocacy (maintaining research software infrastructure): currently being scoped.

Additional activities will be developed and will deliver new outcomes over the course of the project.

Contact the ARDC

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