Research Software Citation: Cite and Make Citable

Version 1.0.0 – 16 February 2018

Contributors: Stephan Druskat, Michael R. Crusoe

Software is an important research product.
It should be cited like all other scientific products.

The following guides help researchers understand present issues and cite research software correctly in their publications. They also present authors of research software with tools that can help ensure their software can be cited in a way that follows best practices.

Researchers and software developers aren’t the only stakeholders in research software citation, and thus the list below will be extended to include others as well, such as repositories, funders, indexers, etc. If you’re keen to see guides for these parties sooner rather than later, please consider contributing them.


Citation of research software: An introduction

What is the state of research software citation, and what solutions are out there?

Research software citation for researchers

Find out how to cite software correctly in your publication.

Research software citation for software developers

Find out how to make sure that your software can be cited, and cited correctly.

Further resources

Communities working on research software citation solutions


  • The Citation File Format is a machine- and human-readable and -writable format for software citation metadata files.
  • The CodeMeta project provides compatibility information across software metadata formats via a crosswalk table, and a minimal schema for software metadata, complete with an implementation in JSON-LD.
  • The Zenodo repository accepts research products of all kinds – including software – and provides DOIs for artifacts, making research products sustainable.
  • The figshare repository also accepts source code and binaries and provides DOIs for them.
  • CiteAs retrieves citation information for different types of research products, including software.
  • shouldacite offers guidance on whether a specific software should be cited and provides further pointers as to how to cite and get cited.


  • Smith, Arfon M., Katz, Daniel S., Niemeyer, Kyle E., & FORCE11 Software Citation Working Group. (2016). Software citation principles. PeerJ Computer Science, 2, e86.
  • Druskat, Stephan. (2017, December). Citation File Format (CFF) Specifications.
  • Jones, Matthew B., Boettiger, Carl, Mayes, Abby Cabunoc, Smith, Arfon, Slaughter, Peter, Niemeyer, Kyle, … Goble, Carole. (2017). CodeMeta: an exchange schema for software metadata. Version 2.0. KNB Data Repository.

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Community contributions to this site are welcome! Please file issues and create pull requests on the project’s GitHub site at

Copyright © 2018ff. Stephan Druskat and contributors. All content licensed under CC-BY-4.0.

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