As a researcher, you will likely use a range of tools and software programs to complete your research. You may need to investigate appropriate software to support your research, evaluate or even create software from scratch.

Find and use open research software introduces you to the idea of open research software (ORS) to support your research tasks and workflows.


3. Popular open research tools

It is impossible to build an exhaustive list of available ORS. However, the table below lists examples of notable software tools that can be used in a variety of research fields.

Tool/softwareUse for Help materialsFinancially supported by
  • Statistical analysis 
  • Spreadsheet and reports
  • Use instead of SPSS
  • Dynamic programming language focusing on numerical analysis.
  • Data mining, data science, and machine learning
Financial contributions via NumFOCUS
  • Tool to clean, process and reconcile tabular data
  • Powerful for
    • data wrangling
    • normalizing
    • spreadsheets
    • parsing data from websites.

Code for Science and Society.

Donations via OpenCollective.

  • Collaborative, online writing and editing in LaTeX
  • Writing papers and reports, especially for journals
  • Writing mathematical formulas
Overleaf subscriptions
  • General programming language widely used for Data Science
  • Conduct data analysis, automate tasks, build websites/software
Python Software Foundation and numerous contributors
  • Statistical programming language that can be used for
    • data processing and analytics
    • modeling
    • visualisation
    • report authoring and
    • dashboard development.
  • All disciplines
R Consortium, ROpenSci, RStudio and numerous contributors
  • Text tagging tool for qualitative data analysis
  • Coding textual data, tag and highlight 
Donations via OpenCollective
  • Geographic Information System with extensive cartographic features and many extensions.
Private and public donors
Voyant Tools
  • Text analysis, digital humanities
  • Large scale analysis of a corpus of texts
  • ‘distant reading’
  • composition of visual dashboards.
About Voyant Tools project
  • used to develop machine learning applications
  • neural networks
  • analyse data
Open source community
  • Reference manager tool
  • Collect, organise, annotate and cite references

Corporation for Digital Scholarship.


Suscriptions to cloud storage.