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de66a24 Mar 24, 2016
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You are writing up your research and wonder if you should cite a particular software package that you used.

Should you cite this particular piece of software?

1. Does the software ask you to cite it?

  • If yes, then do so following their guidelines.
  • If no, then continue to question 2
  • If you don't know:
    • Check for a file name CITATION or similar in the root directory of the software.
    • Check the README for the software, their website, and any output from running it.
    • Search the web for citation instructions: "How to cite 'software name'?".
    • Check download page.
    • Email the authors, open an issue in their issue tracker, or ask on a user support forum. While waiting for a response continue to question 2.

2. Did the software play a critical part in, or contributed something unique to, your research?

Hint: If you extend, script or automate the software, then you should cite the code.

  • If yes, then you must cite the software.
  • If not, or if you don't know, continue to question 3.

3. Did the software manipulate or create your data? This includes storage, visualization, and communication of your data and results.

  • If yes, then you need to cite the software.
  • If not, or if you don't know, continue to question 4

4. Do the authors of the software rely on academic credit for funding? Look for academic institutions in email addresses, URLs.

  • If yes, then you must cite the software.
  • If not, then you don't have to cite the software.

http://bit.ly/shouldacite

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