Persistent Identification and Citation of Software

  • Catherine Mary Jones Science and Technology Facilities Council
  • Brian Matthews Science and Technology Facilities Council
  • Ian Gent University of St Andrews
  • Tom Griffin Science and Technology Facilities Council
  • Jonathan Tedds University of Leicester


Software underpins the academic research process across disciplines. To be able to understand, use/reuse and preserve data, the software code that generated, analysed or presented the data will need to be retained and executed. An important part of this process is being able to persistently identify the software concerned. This paper discusses the reasons for doing so and introduces a model of software entities to enable better identification of what is being identified.

The DataCite metadata schema provides a persistent identification scheme and we consider how this scheme can be applied to software. We then explore examples of persistent identification and reuse. The examples show the differences and similarities of software used in academic research, which has been written and reused at different scales. The key concepts of being able to identify what precisely is being used and provide a mechanism for appropriate credit are important to both of them.



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