Software publishing made easier: An integration between 4TU.ResearchData and GitLab

We are pleased to announce that in the summer we are expecting to have a full integration between GitLab and 4TU.ResearchData to make software publishing easier for our researchers.

Why support research software?

While 4TU.ResearchData has been traditionally focused on helping researchers make their research data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable (FAIR), the great majority of researchers, especially at technical universities, heavily rely on software for their data processing. Often sharing research data without the supporting software simply doesn’t make sense as these two are so closely connected. Sometimes it can be even more important to share research software for the purpose of research verifiability than the data themselves. 

Since one of the key goals of 4TU.ResearchData is to contribute to research reproducibility, we feel it is our responsibility to support researchers not only in publishing their research data, but also the research software.

Why is it important to integrate with GitLab?

Software management practices are continuously improving and increasing numbers of researchers use dedicated tools to collaborate on software projects. GitHub and GitLab are two popular examples of such tools. GitLab is an open source tool which is increasingly used in institutional settings, and is particularly recommended for projects working with confidential content (e.g. commercially-sensitive or privacy-sensitive information).

GitHub is already fully integrated with 4TU.ResearchData. This means that when a researcher wishes to publish their code/software in 4TU.ResearchData, the only thing they need to do is connect their GitHub repository with 4TU.ResearchData and then the publication process is very smooth and easy: no need to download the GitHub repository, zip it and upload it again at 4TU.ResearchData.

Not surprisingly, since all partner institutions support local GitLab installations, researchers who use 4TU.ResearchData to publish their data and code started to ask for GitLab integration as well. 

How and when is this going to happen?

This work will be primarily conducted by developers from figshare (company providing repository software platform for 4TU.ResearchData). Colleagues from partner institutions who oversee local GitLab installations will help connect the institutional GitLab installations to 4TU.ResearchData.

The work is starting now and we expect it to be complete in the summer 2021.

What is the anticipated end result?

The anticipated end result is that the integration with GitLab would work similarly from the user point of view as the current integration with GitHub. In short: researchers wishing to publish their software in 4TU.ResearchData will be able to easily do it by connecting their GitLab repository with 4TU.ResearchData.

What if I have questions about this work?

If you have any questions about this work, contact Ardi Nonhebel, the technical lead at 4TU.ResearchData.

Who funded this work?

This work has been funded in full by the FAIR Software Programme Line of the TU Delft Open Science Programme.

Written by: Ardi Nonhebel & Marta Teperek
Edited by: Connie Clare

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