A significant proportion of the technical and scientific knowledge that is developed today lies in software programs. The preservation of this collection of universal knowledge is as vital as the conservation of papers and sets of research data in order to promote open science and open source software.
By building a universal and durable software archive, Software Heritage aims to put in place a vital infrastructure serving society, science and industry. The objective of this project, on the initiative of Inria, is to collect, organise, preserve and make accessible to all the source code of all available software.
The project receives the support of UNESCO and numerous international partners such as Microsoft , DANS (an institution of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences), the University of Bologna, Société Générale , Huawei , Nokia Bell Labs , Intel, recently joined by Google, UQAM, GitHub , Qwant , and FOSSID .
Thanks to its deposit on HAL and archiving on SWH, the software becomes a legitimate and citable research product - which is essential in the quest for the reproducibility of scientific results.
Which software can be deposited in HAL, and how is it done?
Researchers deposit an archive of the source code and complete the metadata to describe their deposit. Once the deposit has been validated - and if the researcher want it to be transferred - it is imported into Software Heritage, which generates the SWD-ID, a unique identifier enabling its traceability. The HAL deposit is then updated with this identifier. In order to be transferred to Software Heritage, the deposited file must be under a free license and not be under embargo.
The deposit in HAL enables citability, with Software Heritage taking care of archiving.