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Sharing software and source code.

Software is often an essential part of research. A report by the Software Sustainability Institute (SSI) found that 7 out of 10 researchers’ work would be impossible without it.

Sharing software and source code 

One of the main underpinning principles of preserving data is that other people can validate the findings and potentially reuse the data. If the source code or software is necessary for this to happen, then it would be required to be shared. data.ncl has a GitHub plugin to allow snapshots of code to be archived in Newcastle's open research data repository. 

The SSI produced guidelines on software sharing in response to the EPSRC expectations on data. 

Software that isn’t publicly funded

Ideally, sharing the software that is required to validate the findings would be preferable. At a minimum share the data that the software created and supporting description of data. Even sharing this in a non-proprietary file format may allow others to re-use it as software may be created between deposit and access.

You may be open to sharing the software under certain conditions, for example collaboration. This can also be included in any data access statement created for the data. 


Github is useful while working on your software, but it isn’t a suitable option for the long-term storage and preservation of code. There are repositories with GitHub plugins that allow you to take snapshots of the code to support publications and at project end. For example, Zenodo and data.ncl allow you to easily archive and share through a GitHub plugin.  


The licence you place on any data has an impact on the way others can use it. The SSI created guidelines on open source licenses for a software context.

Commercial potential

A commercial aspect may develop as the software is created. If this is one of the expected project outputs, it should be addressed in the data management plan. In other cases, the balance between sharing the software openly and allowing people to innovate or exploring the commercial potential will need to be considered. Please consult the Faculty-based Enterprise Teams as early as possible.


The Software Sustainability Institute is a national facility for cultivating and improving research software to support world-class research with a range of resources and an active community.