May 23, 2022

Video: Impactstory Co-Founders Heather Piwowar and Jason Priem Discuss Depsy, New Tool to Track Impact of Software Developed by Academics


Heather Piwowar and Jason Priem co-founders of Impactstory discussed Depsy, a tool launched last November to track the impact of research software during a Right to Research Coalition OpenCon presentation yesterday (April 8, 2016).

A recording of the presentation is embedded below.

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Blog Post: “Let’s value the software that powers science: Introducing Depsy” (via Impact Story Blog; November 15, 2015)

From the Post:

We made Depsy to solve a problem: in modern science, research software is often as important as traditional research papers–but it’s not treated that way when it comes to funding and tenure. There, the traditional publish-or-perish, show-me-the-Impact-Factor system still rules.

That means not just counting up citations to a hastily-written paper about the software, but actual mentions of the software itself in the literature. It means looking how software gets reused by other software, even when it’s not cited at all. And it means understanding the full complexity of software authorship, where one project can involve hundreds of contributors in multiple roles that don’t map to traditional paper authorship.

See Also: The Unsung Heroes of Scientific Software (via Nature)

Depsy’s creators hope that their platform will provide a transparent and meaningful way to track the impact of software built by academics. The technology behind it was developed by Impactstory, a non-profit firm based in Vancouver, Canada, that was founded four years ago to help scientists to track the impact of their online output. That includes not just papers but also blog posts, data sets and software, and measuring impact by diverse metrics such as tweets, views, downloads and code reuse, as well as by conventional citations.

Direct to Depsy

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.