Comment on:

The following comment refers to this/these guideline(s)

Guideline 13

Providing public access to research results

As a rule, researchers make all results available as part of scientific/academic discourse. In specific cases, however, there may be reasons not to make results publicly available (in the narrower sense of publication, but also in a broader sense through other communication channels); this decision must not depend on third parties. Researchers decide autonomously – with due regard for the conventions of the relevant subject area – whether, how and where to disseminate their results. If it has been decided to make results available in the public domain, researchers describe them clearly and in full. Where possible and reasonable, this includes making the research data, materials and information on which the results are based, as well as the methods and software used, available and fully explaining the work processes. Software programmed by researchers themselves is made publicly available along with the source code. Researchers provide full and correct information about their own preliminary work and that of others.


In the interest of transparency and to enable research to be referred to and reused by others, whenever possible researchers make the research data and principal materials on which a publication is based available in recognised archives and repositories in accordance with the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). Restrictions may apply to public availability in the case of patent applications. If self-developed research software is to be made available to third parties, an appropriate licence is provided.

In line with the principle of “quality over quantity”, researchers avoid splitting research into inappropriately small publications. They limit the repetition of content from publications of which they were (co-)authors to that which is necessary to enable the reader to understand the context. They cite results previously made publicly available unless, in exceptional cases, this is deemed unnecessary by the general conventions of the discipline.

Public access to the source code in the case of self-programmed software in connection with mathematical projects

The results of publicly funded research projects should be fully accessible to the public, and this should ideally include disclosure of the source code of any software developed as part of a publicly funded project. In particular, the source code of elementary programmes developed in connection with qualification work in mathematics should be publicly accessible.

In the case of complex software that is based on different programme packages, potentially also commercial packages, a minimum requirement is for the structure and interfaces of the developed software to be described and disclosed in such a way that calculations and results can be reproduced in principle.

The requirement to disclose the source code of self-developed software is met if it is made available in connection with a publication.

Frequently, programmes in a not quite fully developed version serve to prove the fundamental applicability of the mathematical methodology developed. If such a programme is published to meet the requirement to disclose source codes, it should be stated that the version provided was not implemented in accordance with the standards for software development.

Where appropriate, software that is made available for access should be placed under a suitable (open source) licence.

The comment belongs to the following categories:

GL13 (Natural sciences)