After a fruitful collaboration between Software Heritage (SWH), Hal-Inria and the CCSD, HAL is opening up to a new type of scientific data: software. Researchers now have the possibility to deposit the source code while contributing to Alexandria’s library of Software.Software has become an indissociable support of technical and scientific knowledge. Preserving this body of universal knowledge is as essential as preserving articles and research datasets to promote open science and open source software.
By building a universal and sustainable archive of software, Software Heritage aims to build critical infrastructure for the benefit of society, science and industry. This project, initiated by Inria, aims to collect, organize, preserve, and make available to all, the source code of all available software. The project is supported by UNESCO and many international partners such as Microsoft, DANS (institution of the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences of the Netherlands), the University of Bologna, Société Génerale, Huawei, Nokia Bell Labs, Intel and more recently Google, UQAM, GitHub, Qwant, FOSSID.
Since January 2018, as part of a testing phase, the software deposit was only available on the Hal-Inria portal and test phase. This phase is now over and, from September 25, HAL and all the portals have this type of scientific deposit.
Today, a researcher can submit source code content with appropriate metadata describing the software deposit. Once the deposit has been validated by a moderator, and if the researcher accepts the transfer to the largest software source code archive, it is transfered into Software Heritage which generates a unique, persistent identifier allowing its traceability, the SWH-ID. Then the deposit on HAL and the software citation is updated with the SWH-ID. See also the online documentation.
By depositing the software on HAL and archiving it on SWH, the software becomes a legitimate and citable research product, which is essential in the quest for the reproducibility of scientific results.