What is the ISDD?

The Informatics Software Download Database (ISDD) is a way to better organise the School of Informatics' legacy in excellence in software engineering by promoting open source distributions of our research software.  Software written by our staff and students may be uploaded here to be more easily found by the academic community.  The ISDD acts as a common entry point into our software output.  It also helps us keep statistics which can go into the next Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).  You can use the ISDD to distribute your software more widely under the license you choose.

What is the ISDD's goal?

To help our academics and students gain a wider audience for their software, and to help them maintain the ability to choose how their software is distributed, controlled, and licensed. The ISDD is an automated system - the academic maintains control over what software is uploaded and what license model is used.

What's all this about statistics?

Part of how the School of Informatics receives funding  is through the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), and one of the measures of success is how widely we distribute our research through publications and research software distributions.  While the School's publication record is easily profiled and accounted for, our software output is not.  Keeping track of the software we give away through open source licenses will help bring in more funding for the School, raise the profile of the academic, and help encourage open source licensing models and activities.  Most academics already distribute their research software through one channel or another - the ISDD gives you a focused channel which we can centrally promote - giving your software the widest distribution possible.

What about my existing web pages?

The ISDD handles software package uploads and downloads only - it is not for project pages or doing code version control.  You can promote your software as actively as you like on as many web pages as you like, but instead of providing a download themselves, they should point back to your entry in the ISDD, so that the actual download of code goes through the ISDD.  When you upload your code, there is a text box for you to link in the software's home or research page.

What about manuals and other documentation?

You can include manuals and other documentation within your code package, or you may keep them on your personal or public web pages to compliment the code in the ISDD.

What about my intellectual property rights?

If you are a University employee, the University already retains rights to your software output (owns the intellectual property - this is part of your employment contract), whether you distribute it through the ISDD, through your private web pages, or through any other channel.  The ISDD simply gives you a way to control your own releases in a manner that will help the School.  Uploading your software to the ISDD does not change your rights to ownership of intellectual property.

If you are a student who has not assigned the intellectual property rights of your software to the University, you will be asked to assign them when you upload a new package.  This is a decision that you make to help the University by allowing them rights to your intellectual property and to distribute your software.  If you intend to release your software open source anyway, this is the best way to do it - as you will be protected by the University in case of legal difficulty, and the University will make certain that your rights to continue to control the licensing model (for example, open source) are maintained.   The ISDD is intended to help students maintain control over their own intellectual property rights.  It is also possible that instead of assigning the intellectual property rights to the University when uploading a software package to the ISDD, you may assign the rights to distribute it only instead.  If you wish to do this, contact ERI with your request and we will make it as quick and easy as possible for you.

Why open source?

Open source allows the academic community to use our software for academic purposes, and guarantees the widest possible distribution for your creations. Open source sets your code free so that anyone anywhere may learn from it and use it.  For more on the open source movement, try here.

Does my software have to be open source?

When you upload a new software package, a variety of licenses (most of them flavours of open source) will be available for you to choose from.  You may also use the ISDD as a channel for allowing people to contact you for consulting or commercial licensing inquiries that may arise from your research.  You choose the license that best fits your wishes.

What if I change my mind?

You will have complete control over your uploads, and may remove them from the ISDD when you wish.

What should be uploaded and how?

We are trying to keep the ISDD as simple as possible so people will use it.  The only technical condition to uploading your code to the ISDD is that you have a DICE account enabled, and that you only upload one archive file (typically a ZIP or TAR file which includes code, executables, documentation, and anything else related).  You browse to the single code package file you have created and simply upload it with one click.

What about new versions?

The ISDD does not do versioning or version control.  When you have a new version ready, you can delete the old version and upload a new one, or, if you wish to keep the old version available as well, simply create a new ISDD entry with the new name and version number so that both will remain available.

Where can I see the full legal text of the licenses?

The University's licenses can be seen here.

Further Questions

If you have any further questions about how the ISDD works and why it is a good idea, simply contact ERI

Now get uploading!

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