Software Source Code focus group - RDA 9th Plenary BoF meeting

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09 January 2017 3095 reads

Meeting title

Software Source code: Sharing, Preservation and Reproducibility

Short introduction describing the activities and the scope of the group: 

[Link to the session Google Doc:]

In order to make progress, Science and Technology need to share and reuse knowledge that is traditionally described in scientific articles, and is often based on data that is collected through experiments or produced by a variety of processes. Infrastructures for collecting, preserving, referencing and sharing articles have existed for a long time, and data is now clearly in the picture.
But a rapidly increasing part of our collective knowledge is embodied in, or dependent on, a wealth of software artifacts, that are now an essential component of all modern scientific and technological development. Hence, modern e-infrastructures that support scientific and technical development must take into account this third important element, software, and in particular the source code of software.
Software Source Code is a unique form of knowledge: executable by a machine, it is at the same time meant to be human readable, as it is the preferred form of work for a developer. Collecting, preserving and providing access to the source code of the software artefact is essential for the reproducibility of scientific results, recording methodology, understanding the fine points of scientific and technical developments, and building on top of existing knowledge.

Additional links to informative material related to the group i.e. group page, Case statement, working documents etc

- The 100 top papers (Nature, Oct. 2014) show that software is essential for science 
- Report on software sustainability (
- The Software Sustainability Institute (
- The Artefact Evaluation initiative in Computer Science (
- The Software Heritage initiative (
- Enhancing reproducibility for computational methods (
- Preserving Complex Digital Objects (
- Software Citation Principles (
- Guidelines for persistently identifying software using DataCite (

Meeting objectives

This Birds of Feather meeting has the goal to bring together inside RDA people and partners interested in charting the existing activities around source code sharing, preservation, and reproducibility; identifying the core issues; and working on an agenda for developing a coordinated set of actions to take properly software source code into account in the scientific arena. We would like to point towards pathways for implementing these actions, through infrastructure, interoperation of infrastructures for software preservations, policies and guidance.

Meeting agenda

Moderation: Roberto Di Cosmo, Neil Chue Hong and [TBC: Patrick Aerts/DANS]
1. Presentation of the idea behind this BoF (Roberto Di Cosmo) - 15 minutes
2. Survey of open issues and existing initiatives (discussions, all participants) - 45 minutes (It might be worth us drafting and publishing ahead of the BoF a "map" of the current issues and initiatives, so that we focus on uncovering new issues and initiatives in the workshop?)
3. Summary of the results (TBD) – 15 minutes
4. Definition of the next steps (Roberto Di Cosmo, Neil Chue Hong, [TBC: Patrick Aerts/DANS]) – 15 minutes


This BoF meeting will be relevant for (1) data centers and repositories that archive software (2) researchers who would be interested to improve sharing and reuse of their software (3) funders and publishers that are interested in establishing connections between scientific articles, data and software. It is recommended that participants get generally acquainted with the reference material mentioned in this proposal.

Group chair serving as contact person: Roberto Di Cosmo

Type of meeting: Informative meeting

Remote access:

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