Research software is an integral part of the modern research ecosystem. Taken together, research software, alongside data, facilities, equipment and an overarching research question can be viewed as a research activity or experiment, worthy to be published. Conversely, a publication can be considered as a narrative that describes how the research objects are used together to reply to the research question.

Depositing research software into a digital repository can offer significant benefits. By depositing not just papers, but software, and data sets, as well, researchers can store a more complete record of this ecosystem for future use to both the researchers who undertook the research and also the wider research community. Making research software available allows other researchers to inspect, replicate, reproduce and reuse the research, as manifested in the software, in the short term and to inspect, for the historical record, in the long term. It allows research software to remain available beyond the lifetime of any current project, or a researcher's current employment at a specific institution. Digital repositories can also provide unique persistent digital identifiers for software which can be cited and help researchers to get attribution and credit for their research software when it is used by others.

The Software Sustainability Institute, funded by Jisc, developed a set of complementary guides covering the main aspects of depositing software into digital repositories. These guides are intended for researchers, principal investigators and research leaders and research data and digital repository managers.

Version 1.0

The guides are also available as PDFs deposited within Zenodo. Their DOIs, and links to these, can be accessed via "Software Deposit: Guidance for Researchers" or from within each guide.


Contributions are accepted via our software-deposit-guidance repository on GitHub.

For major suggestions or comments about the form or content of this guidance:

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For minor rewordings or rephrasings:

About this guidance

This guidance was an output of the JISC-RDSS Software Deposit and Preservation project which ran from October 2017 to August 2018.

Mike Jackson, The Software Sustainability Institute, edited the guides.

Christopher Brown, Jisc and Neil Chue Hong, The Software Sustainability Institute managed this project and offered valuable advice and guidance throughout.

The following people also offered valuable advice and guidance which contributed to both the content and form of these guides: Steffan Adams, Cardiff University; Matthew Addis, Arkivum; Mario Antonioletti, EPCC; Alessia Bardi, ISTI-CNR; David Clipsham, National Archives; Jonathan Cooper, UCL; Antonin Delpeuch, University of Oxford; Roberto Di Cosmo, Software Heritage; Federica Fina, University of St Andrews; Alistair Grant, EPCC; Morane Gruenpeter, Software Heritage; Maria Guerreiro, eLife Sciences Publications Ltd; Matthew Herring, University of York; Catherine Jones, STFC; Steve D. Jones, University of Bergen; Daniel S. Katz, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Somaya Langley, University of Cambridge; Antonis Lempesis, Athena Research Center; Joanna Leng, University of Leeds; James Long, University of Plymouth; Mary McDerby, University of Manchester; Rachel MacGregor, University of Lancaster; Hrafn Malmquist, University of Edinburgh; Brian Matthews, STFC; Rowland Mosbergen, QUT (Queensland University of Technology); Martin O'Reilly, Turing Institute; Naomi Penfold, eLife; Edward Ransley, University of Plymouth; Fernando Rios, University of Arizona; Ben Samuels, University of Lincoln; Joshua Sendall, Lancaster University; Matthew Siekier, University of Huddersfield; Justin Simpson, Artefactual Systems; Mark Woodbridge, Imperial College; Wei Xing, Crick Institute.

Selina Aragon, The Software Sustainability Institute, formatted the images.

For more information about the JISC-RDSS Software Deposit and Preservation project, please see the following blog posts and reports: