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.


4. Citing software

It is important to cite the creators of any ORS to recognise other researchers' and software engineers’ work, and clarify exactly what tools (and which versions) were used to reach the research project’s conclusions. 

Correct citation information will usually be provided in the following ways:  

  • Through a menu when using the tool 
  • In the tool’s documentation 
  • Via a file in the code repository e.g. a readme file, a citation.cff file (using the Citation File Format) or a plain-text citation file 
  • Article citation, if it is a published software tool article  
  • Listed in the published metadata record for the software, if it has been indexed in a repository 

Refer to the Software Citation Principles for guidance on how to correctly cite ORS. 


Bozec, Yves-Marie, Hock, Karlo, Mason, Robert A. B., Baird, Mark E., Castro-Sanguino, Carolina, Condie, Scott A., Puotinen, Marji, Thompson, Angus, & Mumby, Peter J. (2021). Code of the simulation model ReefMod-GBR (REEFMOD.6.4) (v.1.0.0). Zenodo.

Citing modular packages and ecosystems 

When using a modular ecosystem of packages (like Julia, R or Python), it is important to cite both the programming language and the packages used.

Consider including the dependency tree for your tool as a supplementary resource of your publication. For example, for R packages, researchers should cite the version of R, the packages used, and mention all dependencies.  

See Research Software Citation for more information.