Citation File Format Hack Day @ RSE18

4 minute read

The Citation File Format (CFF) is a human-centric, machine-readable format for software citation metadata. It is developed to provide an easy way for RSEs, and other developers of software in academia, to ensure that they can receive credit for their work; Likewise, it provides researchers with access to the necessary metadata for references to the software they use in their research. The Citation File Format follows the Software Citation Principles, and is compatible with the CodeMeta JSON-LD exchange format for software metadata. It is being developed in the context of the FORCE11 Software Citation Implementation Working Group and a wider community of stakeholders, including the Netherlands eScience Center. Recently, CFF has been adopted by as a source format, and its tools infrastructure is growing.

Hack Day at the 3rd Conference of Research Software Engineers

During a dedicated Hack Day on Wednesday, 5 September - co-locating with the 3rd Conference of Research Software Engineers (RSE18) in Birmingham - we want to

  • a) give an overview of - and discuss - the Citation File Format, its tooling and workflows;
  • b) discuss what tools would be necessary to facilitate, e.g., better usability, optimized workflows, or integration with other tools in the software citation workflow (reference managers, repositories, other formats, etc.);
  • c) do some actual work around existing and new tools, as well as the Citation File Format itself and its documentation.

The hack day is now fully booked! If you have re-confirmed your participation via email to Stephan Druskat, you will have received a confirmation email and preliminary infos about the hack day, and have a place.
Please confirm your wish to participate via email to stephan [dot] druskat [at] hu-berlin [dot] de to be added to the waiting list. If space becomes available for you, you will be notified via email.


The hack day will take place in the Murray Learning Centre, R28, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2FG (Google Maps, Walking Map: marked as “Learning Centre” on p.2 below the legend), room tbc.

The international morning meeting and the Tier-2/HPC workshop will also take place there, so that you can meet delegates from the other events during lunch and coffee breaks.

Pre-Hack Day Social

On the evening before the hack day, if you want to get to know your fellow hackers in advance, there will be an informal get-together, and you’re invited to come along for a drink and a chat. We’ll meet at the Arco Lounge (147 High Street, Harborne, Birmingham, B17 9NP - Google Maps) from around 18:00 on Tuesday, 4 September. They have food as well (including quite a few vegan options).


Tuesday, 4 September 2018

RSE Talk: Tuesday, 4 September 2018, 13:30, parallel session 4, Track B -
S. Druskat: “YOU HAVE 0 CREDIT – PLEASE INSERT C̶O̶I̶N̶ FILE”: The Citation File Format

Pre-Hack Day Social: Tuesday, 4 September 2018, from ca. 18:00, Arco Lounge

If you want to tweet about the hack day, please use the hashtag #cffhackday.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018, 09:00 - 17:00

09:00 - Registration: Coffee and Tea

09:15 - Introductions
09:30 - Talk: “Brief introduction to the Citation File Format” (S. Druskat)
09:50 - Talk: “How the Netherlands eScience Center uses CFF to promote software citation” (J. Spaaks, J. Maassen, T. Klaver, S. Verhoeven)
10:15 - Hack idea pitches & group formation (

10:45 - Coffee and Tea break

11:00 - Hacking in groups

12:00 - Lunch

12:30 - Hacking updates (plenary)

12:45 - Hacking in groups

14:30 - Coffee and Tea break

14:45 - Hacking in groups

16:00 - Hacking reports & Wrap-up

17:00 - End

Hack ideas

If you have an idea how the Citation File Format, its tooling, its documentation, or its integration in the software citation workflow could be improved, you please register your hack idea in the Hack Ideas Spreadsheet at
If you register a hack idea, please be prepared to present a very short pitch of the idea during the hack day.

Code of Conduct

I want to make sure that the hack day is welcoming and friendly to everyone. Therefore, please read Code of Conduct. You are expected to adhere to it. It can be read here:



Please get in touch with any questions and comments via email to stephan [dot] druskat [at] hu-berlin [dot] de.


I’d like to thank the following for their great help and support in organizing this hack day:

  • #RSE18 organizing committee, especially Louise Brown, Claire Wyatt, and Catherine Jones
  • John Owen and Andrew Edmondson from the University of Birmingham’s IT Services and IT Research Support respectively

The hack day is financed through a grant from the Software Sustainability Institute. Many thanks!

The Software Sustainability Institute's logo