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:

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

International Initiatives

Explore the following  international communities focused on making research visible, many of which ARDC staff are or were active members:  

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. 

Examples include:

If you choose to publish a software paper, we recommend the following:

Doing this helps drive a culture change in the entire research sector to recognise research software as a first-class output of research.

Last updated

12 May 2022

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