#GenR Software Citation Round-up

A concluding summary of headline issues from the Open Science theme of ‘software citation’. Software citation is an important building block in the future of Open Science and has run as Generation R’s launch editorial theme. As with all of the topics of focus on Gen R editorially the issue will be revisited on regular occasions as major developments occur.

What is intrinsically important about software citation?

For the main part it would appear to be the case that until recently no one had indexed, or cataloged, research software. If we compared this situation to the cataloging of literature, and somehow nobody had cataloged publications for the last fifty years, then this would just be unimaginable. But for software this has been the case — for the last half-century there has been virtually no widespread and systematic indexing of software, or its citation in literature. There are exceptions, and the Astrophysics Source Code Library is such an exception and worthy of mention, started in 1999. (ASCL >1999)

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#GenR Theme: The Decentralized Web – A Gutenberg Threshold! Running: Sept-Oct 2018

A call for contributions!

Image credit: NASA, ESA and the HST Frontier Fields team (STScI), Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt, 2013. https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1610a/ 
NB: A tip to McLuhan’s notion of ‘knowledge galaxies’ (McLuhan, 1962), and J.C.R. Licklider and his memos on ‘Intergalactic Computer Network’. (Licklider, 1963)

#decentralizedweb – A Generation R Open Science theme running from late August to early October 2018


Intro: A Gutenberg threshold!

The frame of Gutenberg and the spread of book technology with the accompanying acceleration in learning, as an example of earlier information revolutions, has been a long-standing comparison for the growth of the Internet. For example in the book From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg by John Naughton. (Naughton, 2015)

What is of value in the comparison of the creation of the system of ‘movable type’ and systems of the ‘decentralized web’ is the similarity in needing the convergence of many existing technologies to create a new technological pathway for knowledge, such as the book, or the decentralized web. It is then the far reaching impact of these new pathways which in turn create new: knowledge systems, institutions, industries, knowledge regimes, and knowledge galaxies (McLuhan, 1962), etc.

  • With ‘movable type’ the technologies were, as examples: metallurgy, paper, the press, and type matrix, etc.
  • Similarly with the ‘decentralized web’ it is a convergence of technology and also accompanying developments that make it a game changer in opening up a new pathway for knowledge. Example technologies are: the Merkle tree, cryptoIDs, content addressable, LOD, ontologies, DevOps, continuous integration, etc.
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Software Citation Implementation in Astronomy

Image: Jupiter’s southern hemisphere was captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft on the outbound leg of a close flyby of the gas-giant planet, 11:31 p.m. PDT on May 23, 2018. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill. See: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA22425

This week’s post is a repost of a summary of a meeting held at the 231st American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting in National Harbor, Maryland, USA, January 2018. The original summary, prepared by Daina Bouquin and Arfon Smith, is on GitHub, and is reproduced here with permission.


Software citation is foundationally important to the future of astronomy. Deep intellectual contributions are being made by people creating software to enable scientific research, and it is essential that software creators are encouraged to create these valuable resources. Efforts to help authors receive proper academic credit will allow them to prioritize writing software valuable for the astronomy community within their current profession or the ability to focus their whole career on it. With these facts in mind, on January 11, 2018 a “splinter meeting” was held at the 231st Meeting of the AAS that focused on implementing the FORCE11 Software Citation Principles (Appendix A) in Astronomy.

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Concrete Advice for FAIR Software

Image: Video screen grab from The Leibniz “Mathematical Modeling and Simulation” (MMS) Days 2018 Leipzig, Feb / Mar 2018. (The video can be viewed at the bottom of the article)

This post was originally published in German on the TIB Blog (March 21.2018)

Findability Through Persistent Identifiers

In addition to implementing the FAIR Data Principles for research data there is a need to support the sustainable development, use, and publication of research software. This blog post represents an interim status of the development of these competences.

In addition, it shall introduce a series of articles, which similarly to the already explained FAIR Data Principles for research data (Kraft 2017) will recommend: concrete examples and actions to scientific software projects, summarizes specialist literature (see the bibliography), and also sets goals for our own software projects and those we supports.

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