I am using software in my code that is distributed as BSD license. It has a lincense.txt which describes the original authors who wrote that software. It asks me to retain the txt file, etc when i publish my code which i will do. But do i also have to cite it when i publish a paper? The license doesn't say anything about whether or not i have to cite them in a research paper i write.

If yes, can one give a brief example how to do that?

  • 3
    In the paper are you including any code (such as example code) that was covered by the licence?
    – david25272
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 23:13
  • No, not at all. The BSD code just serves as a tool in my software. My software is running several smaller algorithms to accomplish a bigger simulation. One of those algorithms i just downloaded from web rather than coding myself.
    – user_1_1_1
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 23:31
  • If the use of the code in connection with your paper has anything to do with the BSD licensed software, just say so in the paper. Instructions for using the license are included with the license. Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 23:39

1 Answer 1


If you are't including source code in your paper and you are just using an algorithm then I don't think you need to include the license.

People reading the paper would benefit from knowing which software was used to produce the results, and where to obtain it (especially if they want to reproduce the results), so it would be useful to mention it.

Some authors of software used in research ask that people cite their work - for example this is part of the output of R's citation() function:

We have invested a lot of time and effort in creating R, please cite it
when using it for data analysis. See also ‘citation("pkgname")’ for
citing R packages.

In this cause you would be citing the authors and the package, rather than the license.

As an example citation, something like this would probably suffice:

Bostock (2016) "TopoJSON: An extension of GeoJSON that encodes topology!" https://github.com/topojson/topojson

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