Describe, Manage and Discover Research Software

Jens Klump1, Sue Cook2, Ryan Fraser3, David Lescinsky4, Mingfang Wu5, Lesley Wyborn6

1 CSIRO, Perth, Australia,
2 CSIRO, Perth, Australia,
3 CSIRO, Perth, Australia,
4 Geoscience Australia, Canberra, Australia,
5 ANDS, Melbourne Australia,
6 NCI, Canberra, Australia,



Software plays a critical role in data driven research, where software is developed for cleaning, processing, analysing, and visualising data. Software developed and used as part of the research cycle has been increasingly recognised as an important component for research reproducibility. Thus, it should be treated in the same way as other research inputs and outputs that are part of the record of science such as research data and paper publications. However, there hasn’t been an established a process in scholarly communication for properly managing and publishing software for better discovery, reusability and reproducibility.

Many funding agencies and communities recognize the import role that software plays in the research lifecycle. For example: the Force 11 Software Citation Group has developed and publicised six software citation principles [‎1], namely: importance, credit and attribution, unique identification, persistence, accessibility and specificity (versioning). A new Force11 Software Citation Implementation Working Group [‎2] has formed and commenced on the implementation of the principles. In a recent Software Source Code BoF at the 9th Research Data Alliance Plenary, there were constructive discussions on archival, discoverability and reproducibility of software source code [‎3].  However, more discussion on implementation issues such as both human and machine readable description, systematic unique identification, and licence etc. for software are needed to build a community consensus on these issues.

This 60-minute BoF will provide an overview of activities and challenges managing and describing software, followed by three presentations on current issues, practices and experience in managing and describing software. The presentations will be followed by a group discussion on barriers people are facing in managing and describing software, the outcome from this discussion may be actions for various software interest or working groups, including an Australian software citation IG ‎[4].

The proposed outline is as follows:

  • Introduction to the session
  • Three short presentations by Sue Cook, David Lescinsky, and Ryan Fraser on current issues, practices and experience in managing and describing software for the purpose of discovering and reusing software
  • Group discussion: barriers in managing and describing software
  • Next steps and wrap up with actions


  1. Smith A. M., Katz D. S., Niemeyer K. E., FORCE11 Software Citation Working Group. (2016) Software Citation Principles. PeerJ Computer Science 2:e86. DOI:10.7717/peerj-cs.86.
  2. Force 11 Software Citation Working Group. Available from:, accessed 27 June 2017.
  3. Working document for RDA BoF on a Software Source Code focus group. Available from:, accessed 27 June 2017.
  4. Australian Research Software Interest Group. Available from:, accessed 27 June 2017.


Jens Klump is a geochemist by training and OCE Science Leader Earth Science Informatics in CSIRO Mineral Resources. Jens’ field of research is the application of information technology to geoscience questions. Research topics in this field are numerical methods in minerals exploration, virtual research environments, high performance and cloud computing, and the development of system solutions for geoscience projects. Jens previous work involved building repositories for research data and persistent identifier systems. This project sparked further work on research data infrastructures, including the publication and curation of scientific software and its source code. Follow him on Twitter as @snet_jklump.

Sue Cook is a Data Librarian with the Research Data Support team of CSIRO Information Management and Technology. Formally from a science background before becoming a librarian, she has been with CSIRO since 2006. She has interests in new models of science scholarly communication, data management and using social media for professional development.

Ryan Fraser is a Portfolio Manager with the CSIRO, with over 15 years of experience working in R&D, commercialisation of products and delivery to both government and industry using agile engineering methodologies. Ryan has led many Australian eResearch projects, including the AuScope Grid; Australian Spatial Research Data Commons; VGL; the Virtual Hazards, Impact and Risk Laboratory(VHIRL); ANDS and NeCTAR projects. Ryan possesses specialised knowledge and has current projects in spatial information infrastructures, data analytics, Cloud Computing, Data Management, and Interoperability and has extensive experience in managing and successfully delivering projects.

David Lescinsky is currently the team lead of GA’s High Performance Data / High Performance Computing Science Team and is responsible for facilitating and managing GA’s eResearch projects, including: GA’s science projects at the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI), GA’s national data collections at the Research Data Storage Infrastructure (RDSI), and GA’s Virtual Laboratories Programme. David has a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Earth Sciences and has more than 20 years of experience working as a geologist.

Mingfang Wu has been a senior business analyst at ANDS since 2011. Mingfang has been working on a range of ANDS programs such as data capture, data applications, data eInfrastructures Connectivity, and trusted research outputs. Mingfang is co-chairing the Research Data Alliance: Data Discovery Paradigms Interest Group, and two Australian Interest Groups: Data Provenance and Software Citation. Mingfang received her PhD from RMIT University in 2002 from School of Computer Science, she was a senior research fellow at RMIT from 2006 – 2011 and a research scientist at CSIRO from 1999 – 2006, all in the area of information retrieval.

Lesley Wyborn is a geochemist by training and worked for BMR/AGSO/GA for 42 years in a variety of geoscience and geoinformatics positions. In 2014 she joined the ANU and currently has a joint adjunct fellowship with National Computational Infrastructure and the Research School of Earth Sciences. She has been involved in many NCRIS funded eResearch projects over the years. She is Deputy Chair of the Australian Academy of Science ‘Data for Science Committee’ and is co-chair of several RDA Interest Groups as well as a member of the AGU Earth and Space Science Executive Committee.

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