How successfully is open-source research software adopted? Results and implications of surveying the users of a sensitivity analysis toolbox

Francesca Pianosi*, Fanny Sarrazin, Thorsten Wagener

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Open-source research software is an important element of open science. While the number of software packages made available by researchers is increasing, there has been little analysis about their subsequent uptake. We collect basic information about prospective users when sharing our open-source sensitivity analysis toolbox. This enabled us to carry out a user survey to assess adoption success – beyond simply counting download numbers. Survey results confirm the key role of extensive documentation to ensure adoption, to enhance learning and to enable research implementation. We found that workflows are an effective tool to guide users to tailor methods to their problems. However, workflows also need to include guidance for interpretation of results, otherwise sophisticated functionalities are overlooked as their value is unclear. Developing effective documentation requires significant time investment but is essential if the ultimate aim of open research software is to promote the adoption of scientific methodologies and best practices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104579
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Modelling and Software
Volume124
Early online date6 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

Keywords

  • Research software
  • Open-source software
  • Reproducibility
  • Workflows
  • Software documentation

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