Attributing and Referencing Research Software: Best Practices and Outlook from Inria

11 Jun 2019

Dear all,
I'm delighted to share with you the following article containing the first
results of a working group that has been studying the complex issues one has to
face when taking into account software as a first class research output:
"Attributing and Referencing Research Software:
Best Practices and Outlook from Inria"
available from
This article, currently submitted to a journal, is a contribution to the ongoing
efforts to develop proper guidelines and recommendations for software citation,
building upon the internal experience of Inria, the French national research
institute for digital sciences, that has produced hundreds of major open
source research software over the past decades.
The main takeouts of this work can be summed up as follows :
(1) a richer taxonomy for software contributions with a qualitative scale
(2) humans play an essential role in the evaluation and must be kept in the loop
(3) citation (for credit) and reference (for reproducibility) are two distinct
concepts and should not be conflated
I hope you will find this work useful, and I'd be delighted to hear your
comments on it
All the best
Computer Science Professor
(on leave at INRIA from IRIF/University Paris Diderot)
Software Heritage
Bureau C328 E-mail : ***@***.***
2, Rue Simone Iff Web page :
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75589 Paris Cedex 12 Tel : +33 1 80 49 44 42
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