New York University
To develop a decentralized, federated framework for institutional archiving of research software and other open scholarly materials
Research by Vicky Rampin, Librarian for Research Data Management and Reproducibility at NYU's Division of Libraries, revealed that while there is widespread use of version control among academic researchers writing source code, there are limited approaches to its preservation. In response, Rampin, together with Martin Klein at Los Alamos National Laboratory, has developed an ambitious plan for CoSAI, Collaborative Software Archiving for Institutions, a project that will create a decentralized and federated platform that will knit together several existing archiving and software preservation tools. Decentralization means that no one institution can be a bottleneck or failure point for archiving workflows—a thorny problem on other platforms—while federation both shares costs among partners and implements one of the gold standards in archiving: ensuring the robustness of preservation through having multiple copies of files mirrored across independent sites. CoSAI will focus on research software and aims to archive not just the code developed on sites like GitHub, but the (currently) ephemeral record of supplementary material related to the code (e.g., discussion threads, issues, etc.). By leveraging existing open source tools like Memento Tracer and building on workflow engines such as OCCAM, CoSAI will be able to capture web resources from code repositories at high quality and in a reproducible manner.