Citation File Format (CFF)

image/svg+xml
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Centres

German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Contributing organisations

Netherlands eScience Center , University of Manchester

Keywords

software citation Citation File Format metadata research software sustainability

Research field

Information

Scientific community

Research Software Engineering, Library and Information Science, Computer Science (Software Engineering), Scholarly Communications

Funding

Programming Languages

YAML, JSON Schema, Go, Haskell, Java, JavaScript, Julia, PHP, Python, R, Ruby, TypeScript

License

CC-BY-4.0

Costs

free

Cite

10.5281/zenodo.1003149

Contact

stephan.druskat@dlr.de

Resources

The Citation File Format - making software citation easi(er)

The citation of software is important to enable attribution and credit for developers of research software and reproducibility. In comparison to more traditional research outputs such as papers, software does not inherently provide the necessary metadata to cite it correctly. Therefore it is necessary for software authors to provide these metadata, including software-specific metadata such as version identifiers, source code repositories and license information.

The Citation File Format (CFF) is a community project that provides a human- and machine-readable format and schema for software citation metadata files (CITATION.cff), as well as tools for working with the format. This way, software authors can supply the relevant metadata for their software, and both human users and downstream services can use and reuse the respective metadata.

  cff-version: 1.2.0
  message: "If you use this software, please cite it as below."  
  authors:
    - family-names: Druskat
      given-names: Stephan
      orcid: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4925-7248
  title: "My Research Software"
  version: 2.0.4
  doi: 10.5281/zenodo.1234
  date-released: 2021-08-11
An example for a minimal CITATION.cff file.

The Citation File Format project provides tooling for creating, editing, updating, validating, and converting CFF files in a number of programming languages/technologies. All tools as well as the schema and documentation are published under open licenses.

CFF is supported by several platforms in academia and software development; GitHub uses CITATION.cff files to render citation information for repositories; Zenodo - a universal open access repository for digital research artifacts - uses the information in CFF files to populate record metadata in automated workflows; Reference managers such as Zotero and JabRef support the import of software citation metadata from CFF files.

The GitHub citation widget displaying citation information based on CITATION.cff. The GitHub citation widget displaying citation information based on CITATION.cff.

The Citation File Format schema is written in JSON Schema. CFF files instances are implemented in YAML. As of June 2022, more than 9,000 CITATION.cff files have been created on GitHub alone.



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