Making Software Visible
Making research software visible connects that software to use and impact.
Research software is an essential building block of modern research. The generation, handling and analysis of data almost always involves software. The 2014 UK Research Software Survey found more than 90 per cent of researchers acknowledged software as being important for their own research, and about 70 per cent said their research wouldn’t be possible without software.
Despite this, software is an often invisible part of research.
Research software is visible when it is:
- cited or otherwise acknowledged
- published or otherwise made available
- referenced in data provenance or workflows.
Globally unique persistent identifiers are used to establish the link between a piece of software and its contribution to research outcomes and impact.
How the ARDC Supports Making Software Visible
- Use our free persistent identifier services.
- Join the ARDC co-led Visible Research Software interest group to connect with other people passionate about making software visible.
- Find out about the ARDC Research Software Program project to see research software.
- Discover software and services in ARDC Research Data Australia, or list them there automatically by depositing in your institutional (data) repository.
Explore the following international communities focused on making research visible, many of which ARDC staff are or were active members:
- Research Software Alliance brings communities together to collaborate on the advancement of research software. The ARDC is a member of the ReSA Steering Committee and provides additional in-kind support for a community manager.
- Software Sustainability Institute (UK) cultivates better, more sustainable, research software to enable world-class research.
- The FORCE11 Software Citation Working Group produced a set of software citation principles across the research and scholarly publication sectors.
- Research Data Alliance, Software Source Code Identification Working Group offers concrete recommendations for identifying software.
- The Research Data Alliance, Software Source Code Interest Group is a discussion forum for management, sharing, discovery, archival and provenance of software source code.
- The FAIR For Research Software Working Group (FAIR4RS WG) coordinated a range of existing community-led discussions on how to define and effectively apply FAIR principles to research software, and how to achieve adoption of these principles.
- The Research Data Alliance, CURE-FAIR Working group established standards-based guidelines for curating reproducible and FAIR data and code. The ARDC co-chaired the WG from 2020 to 2022.
- The Software Preservation Network was established to advance software preservation through collective action. SPN connects and engages the diverse communities of information and communication technology, cultural heritage preservation, law, public policy, social science, natural science, arts, and humanities organisations that create, use and curate software.
Publish a Software Paper
Publishing a software paper in a peer-reviewed journal promotes code review and maintenance of reusable, sustainable research software. This allows research outputs to be recognised and credited, opening opportunities for collaboration, reuse and citations.
A number of peer-reviewed journals accept submissions that are primarily about the software. The (UK) Software Sustainability Institute maintains a list of journals from across domains including life sciences, humanities and social sciences (HASS), engineering and informatics.
Publishing a software paper is subtly different to making software visible. These are papers about the software. A growing number of scholarly societies and publishers are recommending citing both the software itself and the article about that software.
- American Astronomical Society Policy Statement on Software
- American Geophysical Union advice on Data and Software for Authors
- GIGA SCIENCE Editorial Policies and Reporting Standards for Availability of Data and Materials
- Oxford University Press Research Data Policy advice on citation.
If you choose to publish a software paper, we recommend the following:
- make your software citable
- advise users of your software to cite both the paper and the software.
Doing this helps drive a culture change in the entire research sector to recognise research software as a first-class output of research.
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