Tell us what YOU think! Help Interlibrary Services by taking a 3-minute survey.

Have you borrowed materials through Interlibrary Services? We want to hear about your experience.

Please take our three-minute survey. Our mission is to support your research, and your feedback will help us better meet your needs.

WHEN: The survey opens April 15
WHERE: Take the survey here


Research software in practice

Software presents multiple challenges for researchers and institutions when it comes to reproducibility-related practices. Unlike publications and datasets, software is executable, highly iterative, and often inter-dependent. Therefore,  In our recent study, we found that while scholars often save their software for long periods of time, many do not actively preserve or maintain it. The lack of active preservation and tendency to share software outside traditional (and measurable) scholarly communications channels on display demonstrates social and behavioral challenges. These findings indicate the need for programs to train researchers on how to maintain their code in the active phase of their research.

Additionally, there are technical challenges when it comes to ensuring the use and reuse of software. For example, software relies on multiple dynamic elements, including the build and execution environment; dependencies and integrated libraries; metadata and specifications; and the structure of source code and individual components that support functionality. All of these components are necessary during the software lifecycle for execution. At the same time, the essential components for reuse may differ according to the community of interest. Factors that influence reuse of software include the quality of documentation and implementation details. Additionally, having full access to the data used in research is crucial for ensuring reproducibility.

The findings of our study along with the challenges that software presents indicate the need for programs to train researchers on how to maintain their code in the active phase of their research. At UC Berkeley libraries, we have started generating a series of tutorials to help researchers manage their software in the active phase of the research. We first introduced researchers with a generic workflow for making their research reproducible and how to manage the research entities: data, software, research workflow, and scholarly publication. Then we focus on managing research software. Here are our guides:

  • How to make research reproducible: This guide presents best practices in documenting scientific research process to make the research reproducible.
  • How to write a good documentation: This guide helps researchers to prepare their code for publishing through writing a good documentation.
  • How to make your code citable: This guide helps researchers to learn how to make their code citable. It walks researchers step by step through steps of archiving code using data and code archiving platform Zenodo and also shows how to get a DOI for your code.

We plan to continue our effort by introducing more guides on how to manage software.

If you have comment or questions, contact me at yasminal@berkeley.edu.


Survey about “Understanding researcher needs and values about software”

Software is as important as data when it comes to building upon existing scholarship. However, while there has been a small amount of research into how researchers find, adopt, and credit software, there is currently a lack of empirical data on how researchers use, share, and value software and computer code.

The UC Berkeley Library and the California Digital Library are investigating researchers perceptions, values, and behaviors around the software generated as part of the research process. If you are a researcher, we would appreciate if you could help us understand your current practices related to software and code by spending 10-15 minutes to complete our survey. We are aiming to collect responses from researchers across different disciplines. The answers of the survey will be collected anonymously.

Results from this survey will be used in the development of services to encourage and support the sharing of research software and to ensure the integrity and reproducibility of scholarly activity.

Take the survey now:
https://berkeley.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_aXc6OrbCpg26wo5

The survey will be open until March 20th. If you have any question about the study or a problem accessing the survey, please contact yasminal@berkeley.edu or John.Borghi@ucop.edu.


Yasmin AlNoamany