Forum Numerica - Archiving, assessing and attributing research software: towards software as a first class citizen in the scholarly world


Inria / Université de Paris



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Software is a fundamental pillar of modern scientific research, across all fields and disciplines. However, there is a general lack of adequate means to archive, reference and cite software. In this talk, we will survey the main issues that make this task difficult, ranging from the specificity of the persistent identifiers needed for reproducibility to the complexity of determining software authorship and authority, especially for long running projects, which are needed for proper software attribution and credit. We report on recent contributions to the ongoing efforts to develop proper processes, guidelines and recommendations for software reference and software citation, building upon the internal experience of Inria and the emerging Software Heritage infrastructure

About the speaker

An alumnus of the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, with a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Pisa, Roberto Di Cosmo was associate professor for almost a decade at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. In 1999, he became a Computer Science full professor at University Paris Diderot, where he was head of doctoral studies for Computer Science from 2004 to 2009. A trustee of the IMDEA Software institute, and member of the national committee for Open Science in France, he is currently on leave at Inria.
His research activity spans theoretical computing, functional programming, parallel and distributed programming, the semantics of programming languages, type systems, rewriting and linear logic, and, more recently, the new scientific problems posed by the general adoption of Free Software, with a particular focus on static analysis of large software collections. He has published over 20 international journals articles and 50 international conference articles.
In 2008, he has created and coordinated the european research project Mancoosi, that had a budget of 4.4Me and brought together 10 partners to improve the quality of package-based open source software systems.
Following the evolution of our society under the impact of IT with great interest, he is a long term Free Software advocate, contributing to its adoption since 1998 with the best-seller Hijacking the world, seminars, articles and software. He created in October 2007 the Free Software thematic group of Systematic, that helped fund over 50 Open Source research and development collaborative projects for a consolidated budget of over 200Me. From 2010 to 2018, he was director of IRILL, a research structure dedicated to Free and Open Source Software quality.
He created in 2015, and now directs Software Heritage, an initiative to build the universal archive of all the source code publicly available, in partnership with UNESCO.