We're thrilled to announce that we've been awarded a $297,500 EAGER grant from the National Science Foundation to study how automatically-gathered impact metrics can improve the reuse of research software. The grant (posted in its entirety on figshare) has three main components:
First, we'll improve ImpactStory's ability to track and display the impact of research software. We'll build tools to uncover where and how software is downloaded, installed, extended, and used; we'll also mine the research literature to find how software is being reused to make new studies possible. We'll present all this impact information in an easy-to-understand dashboard that researchers can share.
Second, we'll be using quantitative and qualitative approaches to see if this impact data helps promote actual software reuse among researchers. We'll gather data for a sample of software projects, survey researchers, and track inclusion of impact data in grant, tenure, and promotion materials.
Finally, we'll work to build an engaged community of researchers to help support the project, starting with a group of ImpactStory Software Impact Advisors; these folks will help us with feedback and ideas, and also let us know when and how they're using software impact metrics in their own professional practice.
The long-term goal of the project is big: we want to transform the way the research community values software products. This is in turn just one part in the larger transformation of scholarly communication, from a paper-native system to a web-native one.
Of course we're not going to achieve all that in a two-year grant. But we do think we can offer key support to this revolution in the making, and we can't wait to get started. Thanks, NSF; it's going to be an exciting two years!