Metrics for insight into scientific software ecosystems. Working paper, for submission to Research Evaluation.
Software is increasingly important to the scientific enterprise and science funding agencies are increasingly funding software work. Accordingly many different participants need insight into how to understand the relationship between software, its development, its use and its scientific impact. In this paper we draw on interviews and participant observation to describe the information needs of domain scientists, software component producers, infrastructure providers, and ecosystem stewards, including science funders. We provide a framework by which to categorize different types of measures and their relationships as they reach around from funding, development, scientific use, and through to scientific impact. We use this framework to organize a presentation of existing measures and techniques, and to identify areas in which techniques are either not widespread, or are entirely missing. We conclude with policy recommendations designed to improve insight into the scientific software ecosystem, make it more understandable, and thereby contribute to the progress of science.
Online at: http://james.howison.name/pubs/SoftwareMetricsPaper-WorkingPaper.pdf
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