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Why do we need to compare research software, and how should we do it?

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Fourth Workshop on Sustainable Software for Science: Practice and Experiences (WSSSPE4)
Subtitle of host publicationUniversity of Manchester, Manchester, UK, September 12-­14, 2016
PublisherCEUR Workshop Proceedings (CEUR-WS.org)
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sep 2016


How can we measure research software? Is it possible to compare it, given the myriad different research domains, practices and pieces of software? Do we even need to do this, and what benefits might it bring? This position paper sets out the reasons for why different stakeholders, from users to developers to funders, might wish to undertake this difficult task, and describes a proposed framework for doing so (based around measures of accessibility, usability, maintainability and portability) which takes into account the possibility of variation between different communities about how they prioritise different aspects of research software.

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