ASCL at AAS 231

It’s AAS meeting time, and that means a busy busy week! There are some of the ASCL’s activities at this meeting; we hope to see you at our posters and in the Special Session!

Poster 150.10: The Astrophysics Source Code Library by the numbers
Tuesday, January 09, Prince Georges Exhibit Hall

Abstract: The Astrophysics Source Code Library (ASCL, was founded in 1999 by Robert Nemiroff and John Wallin. ASCL editors seek both new and old peer-reviewed papers that describe methods or experiments that involve the development or use of source code, and add entries for the found codes to the library. Software authors can submit their codes to the ASCL as well. This ensures a comprehensive listing covering a significant number of the astrophysics source codes used in peer-reviewed studies. The ASCL is indexed by both NASA’s Astrophysics Data System (ADS) and Web of Science, making software used in research more discoverable. This presentation covers the growth in the ASCL’s number of entries, the number of citations to its entries, and in which journals those citations appear. It also discusses what changes have been made to the ASCL recently, and what its plans are for the future.

Poster 150.28: Schroedinger’s code: Source code availability and transparency in astrophysics
Tuesday, January 09, Prince Georges Exhibit Hall

Abstract: Astronomers use software for their research, but how many of the codes they use are available as source code? We examined a sample of 166 papers from 2015 for clearly identified software use, then searched for source code for the software packages mentioned in these research papers. We categorized the software to indicate whether source code is available for download and whether there are restrictions to accessing it, and if source code was not available, whether some other form of the software, such as a binary, was. Over 40% of the source code for the software used in our sample was not available for download.

As URLs have often been used as proxy citations for software, we also extracted URLs from one journal’s 2015 research articles, removed those from certain long-term, reliable domains, and tested the remainder to determine what percentage of these URLs were still accessible in September and October, 2017.

Special Session: Astronomy Software Publishing: Community Roles and Services
Thursday, January 11, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM; National Harbor 2
Organizers: Astrophysics Source Code Library (ASCL)/Astronomical Data Group at the Flatiron Institute

The importance of software to astronomy research is well-established, and excellent arguments to reveal these computational methods to support the research record have been advanced and much discussed in recent years. But what avenues are open to software authors to publish their codes, and what roles and services exist in the community to support their efforts? This session, organized by the Astrophysics Source Code Library (ASCL) and Astronomical Data Group at the Flatiron Institute, answers that question. It builds on previous AAS special sessions and brings together a panel of experts to present on the various avenues for publishing codes and the pros and cons of these avenues, the roles of authors, data editors, and publication indexers in software publication, the benefits of publication to authors and the discipline, and efforts of related community projects to improve aspects of software publication. After the presentations, the floor will be open for discussion and questions.

The topics and panelists are:

Introductory remarks, Peter Teuben (University of Maryland)
The evolution of software publication in astronomy, Matteo Cantiello (Flatiron Institute, Center for Computational Astrophysics/Princeton University)
Software papers and citation in the AAS journals, Chris Lintott (AAS Journals/University of Oxford)
Software policies and guidelines at Nature, Leslie J. Sage (Physical Sciences, Nature)
SpringerNature data and software policies for astrophysics journals, Ramon Khanna (Astronomy, Springer)
Journal of Open Source Software (JOSS): design and first-year review, Arfon M. Smith (Space Telescope Science Institute)
Lessons learned through the development and publication of AstroImageJ, Karen Collins (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)
The roles of the AAS Journals’ Data Editors, August Muench (Journals Division, AAS)
The role of the ADS in software discovery and citation, Alberto Accomazzi (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory)
The Astrophysics Source Code Library: Supporting software publication and citation, Alice Allen (ASCL/University of Maryland)
Open discussion and Q&A, Moderated by Peter Teuben (University of Maryland)
Summary and closing remarks, Robert J. Nemiroff (Michigan Technological University)

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