Where is all the research software? An analysis of software in UK academic repositories.

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


There has been a steep decline in numbers of research software submissions to the UK's Research Excellence Framework (REF) from 2008 to 2021, but there has been no investigation into whether and how the official academic Institutional Repositories (IRs) have affected the low return rates. In what we believe to be the first such census of its kind, we queried the online repositories of over 180 UK universities. Our findings show that the prevalence of software within UK Academic IRs is incredibly low. A minority contain software as recognised academic output. Of greater concern, we found that a large majority of repositories cannot record software as a type of research output and that several Universities appeared to have removed software as a defined type from default settings of their repository. We also explored potential correlations, such as being a member of the Russell group, but found no correlation between these metadata and prevalence of records of software. Finally, we discuss the implications of these findings with regards to the lack of recognition of software as a discrete research output in institutions, despite the opposite being mandated by funders, and we make recommendations for changes in policies and operating procedures.
Period05 Sept 2023
Event titleRSECon 2023: The 7th annual conference for research software engineering.
Event typeConference
LocationSwansea, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational