DAWG Software Authorship Guidelines

Revision history

September 2020: initial draft

August 2021:


There are many different ways to contribute to collaboratively-developed software. The SuperDARN Data Analysis Working Group (DAWG) recognizes that the entire SuperDARN community has contributed to the success of SuperDARN software packages over several decades. Whilst all types of contributions are valuable to science and to the scientific community, the DAWG wishes to give special recognition to those who dedicate substantial amounts of time, effort and expertise towards software development by listing these individuals as authors of the software.

The DAWG has agreed on the following principles relating to software authorship:

The DAWG encourages the practice of describing one’s own contributions to collaborative work, for example when applying for research funding, applying for jobs, and for performance evaluations. This provides more detailed information than what can be captured in an author list.

Team name

The primary author of DAWG software packages shall be a team name: SuperDARN Data Analysis Working Group. In the software citation, the names of the individuals who meet the authorship criteria shall be listed after the team name.

Criteria for authorship

The following criteria shall be used to determine which individuals should be included on the author list for a specific release

Contributions that always qualify for authorship:

Contributions that might qualify for authorship, depending on the circumstances:

Contributions that do not qualify for authorship:

The DAWG chairs are responsible for ensuring that all individuals who meet the authorship criteria are included in the author list when making a new release. If the above criteria do not address the nature of an individual’s contribution, the DAWG chairs shall make the decision regarding their authorship status and update this document accordingly.

Time on the author list

Authors of a particular release shall also be included on the author list for the next 2-3 major/minor releases. After this time, their name can be removed from the author list if they no longer meet the authorship criteria. Authors of previous releases can be acknowledged separately, for example in a separate text file distributed with the software (see below).

Discretion should be used when removing names from the author list. For example, it may be appropriate extend the time on the author list for an individual who has made a particularly important contribution to the software.

Author list order

The major contributors to the release shall be listed first, in order of contribution. The remaining authors shall then be listed alphabetically.

Currently, there are no specific metrics for determining who is a major contributor, or the order they are listed. To ensure a transparent process, justification for the author list order should be discussed and documented internally within the DAWG for each release.

The DAWG chairs shall be responsible for creating the draft author list for an upcoming release. The proposed author list should be made available early in the release testing period so that it can be reviewed.

Acknowledging contributions that do not qualify for authorship

The following methods could be used to give credit for other types of contributions to the software:

Full list of current and past authors

As of RST4.6, the top-level directory of RST includes a file rst-authors.md that lists the names of the previous authors/developers and a brief description of their contributions. This list should be updated when new contributions are made to the software.

Software documentation

Provide the citation for published methods/models in the software’s documentation and/or command line help.


Any disputes regarding the author list of a DAWG software package should be directed to the DAWG chairs.