Citing Software

Proper citation of research software reliably links the use of software to publications.

It benefits both the software creator and the scientific process by:

  • providing fair credit for software developers or researchers who spend time developing software
  • helping track the use and reuse of software through reference in scientific literature and within other software
  • helping developers verify how their software is being used
  • aiding scientific reproducibility through direct, unambiguous references to the precise software used in a particular analysis or study
  • ensuring scientific transparency and reasonable accountability of methods.

How to Cite Software

International research publishing coalition FORCE11 has published the software citation guide that outlines the globally recognised format for citing software. 

Read Recognizing the value of software: a software citation guide

We highly recommend you always consult this guide because it details:

  • recommended fields for best practice
  • optional fields as required in some circumstances 
  • several examples of software citations covering a number of scenarios.

The guide recommends the following fields as the minimum requirements:

  • creator(s)
  • title
  • publication venue
  • date of publication
  • identifier.
  • version (optional)
  • type (optional).

When citing software you have used, we recommend you cite the software directly where possible. This may be in addition to citing a related paper at the request of the author.

Join the Visible Research Software interest group.

About FORCE11

FORCE11 is an international coalition of researchers, librarians, publishers and research funders dedicated to improving the research publishing and communication system.

The software citation guide was created by FORCE11’s Software Citation Implementation working group. It builds on the work of FORCE11’s Software Citation working group to examine needs and practices across a range of disciplines. In 2015 that working group published a set of principles for software citation.

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Last updated

14 May 2022




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