Daina Bouquin

Center for Astrophysics

Citing software is fundamentally more challenging than citing a paper.

Relevant information is often not obvious, norms are still being established, and there are few tools to support you.


You usually don't have to ask things like this about a paper:

  • What is the title?

  • What label should I use to identify the version?

  • Who should be identified as authors?

Software Citation Principles (2016)

Software is important.


Therefore software citations must:

  • enable normative, legal credit and attribution for authors
  • uniquely and persistently identify software 
  • enable access to software and its associated metadata.


Archived software with a persistent identifier is the most citable software.


Move the needle on the most persistent software citation challenges.

Online Focus Groups

  • Understand how people view the problem of software citation from various vantage points
  • Identify barriers to implementing software citation metadata standards.


In-Person Workshop

  • Brainstorm interventions 
  • Prioritize problems and lay out mutually supporting approaches to address them 
  • Synthesize ideas and other deliverables to be shared widely


A two-part approach

  • Most preservation platforms were designed for data and publications, not software
  • Awareness of software citation metadata standards is low
  • Two standards with different strengths leads to confusion
  • There are few immediate incentives to encourage software authors to generate and curate metadat

Online Focus Group Themes

  • It is not clear when to create separate records for software and its related digital objects
  • Automatically generated metadata is very messy
  • Tooling can be buggy
  • There is already software in archives with missing metadata

Online Focus Group Themes


In-Person Meeting Outcomes


  • Group 1: We need a shared vision for software citation
    • There are currently competing efforts that actually work against each other in terms of achieving software citation because the goals are different
    • e.g., is "software citation" about the practice of acknowledging the use of software or a greater standardization of the ways in which citation is enabled.

In-Person Meeting Outcomes


  • Group 2: There are actions we can take now
    • Create a website that can act as a central source of information on software citation in practice.
    • Share a very simple recommendation on software citation file formats: software creators should create CFF files, and all other stakeholders should create CodeMeta files.
    • Write a paper for the GLAM community on software-ready repositories and how they can enable software citation.

In-Person Meeting Outcomes


  • Group 3: Interdisciplinary guidance is needed
    • There is a need for short-form documentation relating to subjects like software citation metadata, software publishing, and FAIR and FAIR4RS principles that use language that groups such as archivists, students, and research software creators and users would understand.

Next Steps


 FORCE11 Software Citation Implementation Working Group is seen as an appropriate convening entity to oversee the execution of future activities and make connections with other groups.


Priorities for the coming year:


  1. Establish a unified vision for software citation

  2. Develop a single web presence to house resources related to software citation

  3. Promote simple guidance on the use of CFF and CodeMeta

Made with Slides.com