New Customizable Guidelines Encourage Appropriate Software Citations in Research

Software is an important research tool, but software is often not properly cited in the literature, leading to problems with reproducibility, reuse, and proper credit for software developers. To maintain citation integrity in scholarly publishing, the FORCE11 Software Citation Implementation Working Group, a group of scholarly communications researchers, representatives of major journals, publishers, and scholarly infrastructures (Crossref, DataCite) has proposed a set of customizable guidelines for clearly citing software.

“We expect publishers, journals, and conferences to update their guidance to their authors, reviewers, editors, and staff based on our guidance, customized for their communities with their style and software examples,” wrote working group member Daniel Katz in a blog post about the initiative. “And we hope that this will then push the scholarly community to recognize and acknowledge software more generally, and give developers and maintainers more credit for their software work within the academic system.”

Here are two sample software citations from the article “Recognizing the value of software: a software citation guide”:

IBM Corp. (2017). IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows (Version 25.0) [Computer software]. IBM Corp. https://www.ibm.com/products/spss-statistics

Dataverse Project (2020). Dataverse (Version 4.20) [Computer software] https://github.com/IQSS/dataverse/releases/tag/v4.20

The Ochsner Journal editorial staff  will implement relevant guidelines from the FORCE11 Software Citation Implementation Working Group into our editorial process and author instructions/requirements.

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