Unearthing Research Software: A Report

Read this ARDC-commissioned report on the scale of software production arising from ARC grants between 2010 and 2019.

This report was commissioned as part of the ARDC’s program to implement a national agenda for research software. Using machine learning techniques, it estimates that approximately 47% of 13,784 ARC grants between 2010 and 2019 gave rise to software infrastructure, tools or code of some kind. The percentage is also estimated to have gone up during the decade as the volume of grants increased.

High and rising levels of ARC-funded software production are estimated across disciplines and organisations, including in the humanities, arts and social sciences (HASS), where 25% of research grants created software despite the domain’s unique nature and methodologies. No significant relationship was found between funding amounts and the probability that the research will produce software.

In light of the abundance of research software created through ARC grants, the report calls for better documentation, discoverability and management of research software.


  1. Introduction
  2. Methods
  3. Data
  4. Model
  5. Results
  6. Findings and Discussion
  7. Implications for Policy
  8. Appendix 1 – Examples of Model Prediction
  9. Appendix 2 – Template for a Research Software Development Plan (SDP)

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