1. Develop publicly accessible open source code from day one

Start a project as open source from the very first day, in a publicly accessible, version controlled repository (e.g., github.com and bitbucket.org). The longer a project is run in a closed manner, the harder it is to open source it later.

Facilitate the discoverability of the open source software projects by registering metadata related to the software in a popular community registry, making your source code more discoverable. Metadata might, include information like the source code location, contributors, license, references and how to cite the software.

3. Adopt a license and comply with the licence of third-party dependencies

Provide instructions and guidelines for other projects and software to use, modify and redistribute the software and the source code. Adopt a suitable Open Source license, include it in a publicly accessible source code repository, and ensure the software complies with the licenses of all third party dependencies.

4. Have a clear and transparent contribution, governance and communication processes

Open sourcing your software does not mean the software has to be developed in a publicly collaborative manner. Although it is desirable, the OSS recommendations do not mandate a strategy for collaborating with the community. However projects should be clear and transparent about how to contribute to them as well as, their governance model, and their communication channels.


Jiménez RC, Kuzak M, Alhamdoosh M et al. Four simple recommendations to encourage best practices in research software [version 1; referees: awaiting peer review]. F1000Research 2017, 6:876 (doi: 10.12688/f1000research.11407.1)