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Paris Call - Software Source Code as Heritage



In today’s world digital technology has become for many an essential tool for social existence, communication, creation, sharing, and is increasingly indispensable for accessing public services. However, the role of software development is still largely underrated, as is the recognition of software source code as an intellectual effort and as the receptacle and expression of part of our knowledge.

That is why it is crucial to work towards preserving the technological and scientific knowledge embodied in software source code. This objective is at the core of the cooperation between UNESCO and Inria, which started in 2017.

An eminent group of international experts met upon invitation of UNESCO and Inria in November 2018 at UNESCO’s Headquarters to discuss software preservation. Emerging from this meeting is the Paris Call, representing an important first step towards a coordinated response to the challenges that have been identified. These challenges include the importance of raising awareness among decision-makers, and the recognition of software creators as well as of the contribution of women and minorities to digital innovation and software. The Call goes further to argue for greater access to software source code in order to ensure that citizens, and young people in particular, are empowered with sufficient digital skills and literacy to fully participate in today’s digital society.

These efforts, however, are just starting. It is our collective responsibility and we all must ensure that the knowledge accumulated – and constantly being generated – is not lost.

The Paris Call becomes a strong basis to imagine and build new actions around the preservation of the code, and sustain Free and Open Source Software communities through the exchange of the knowledge now archived as part of the Software Heritage Initiative.

The experts report annexed to the Paris Call further highlights the importance of preserving software in general, and software source code in particular, as important levers for sustainable development.


Paris Call: Software Source Code as Heritage for Sustainable Development


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Signatories at 26 February 2019

# Name Organization/Company Position
1 Abramatic, Jean-François Inria Emeritus Senior Scientist
2 Albert, Kendra Software Preservation Network Legal Advisor
3 Alberts, Gerard University of Amsterdam Historian
4 Bradley, Kevin Australian Collection and Reader Services, National Library of Australia Assistant Director-General
5 Buckley, Robert PERSIST Policy Working Group Chair
6 Chue Hong, Neil Software Sustainability Institute, University of Edinburgh Director
7 Clipsham, David The National Archives (UK) Digital Preservation and Archiving Technical Architect
8 Cochrane, Euan Yale University Digital Preservation Manager
9 Di Cosmo, Roberto Software Heritage, Inria Director
10 Duplouy, Laurent Multimedia collection, BNF Curator
11 Gharsallah, Mehdi French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation Conseiller stratégique pour le numérique
12 Greenberg, Joshua M. Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Program Director, Digital Information Technology
13 Guerry, Bastien Free Software at Etalab (France) Head
14 Hinchey, Mike International Federation for Information Processing President
15 Inverardi, Paola University of L'Aquila (Italy) Rector
16 Issarny, Valerie ACM-Europe and Inria Computer scientist
17 Madhavan Pillai, Arun ICFOSS, Government of Kerala, India Program Head
18 Marzano, Flavia Roma Semplice Councilor
19 Miura, Grégory Bordeaux Montaigne University Director of the Shared Documentation Service
20 Moreau, Patrick The French National Centre for Scientific Research Industrial Partnership Manager
21 Nardelli, Enrico Informatics Europe President
22 O'Donohue, Pearse Future Networks Team in DG CONNECT at the European Commission Director
23 Osuna Alarcón, Maria R. University of Salamanca Senior Lecturer
24 Palm, Jonas SCOT, Memory of the World Programme Chair
25 Perelmuter, Tanya Software Heritage Foundation Strategic Partnership Director
26 Phipps, Simon Open Source Initiative President
27 Piana, Carlo Array Lawyer
28 Rugier, Nicolas Inria Researcher
29 Sassi, Melissa IEEE Digital Skills Working Group Chair
30 Schüller, Dietrich Austrian National Committee Chair
31 Seles, Anthea International Council on Archives (ICA) Secretary-General
32 Shustek, Len Computer History Museum Chairman
33 Smith, Arfon Space Telescope Science Institute Head of the data science mission office
34 Webb, Mary International Federation for Information Processing TC3 Member
35 Wheatley, Paul Digital Preservation Coalition Head of Research and Practice
36 Wyber, Stephen IFLA IEEE Digital Skills

Signatories after 26 February 2019

# Name Organization/Company Position
37 Attias, Luca Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Italy High Commissioner for the Digital Agenda
38 Bastin, Lucy Aston University, UK Senior Lecturer in Computer Science
39 Béchard, Lorène Centre Informatique National de l’Enseignement Supérieur (CINES) Digital Preservation Manager
40 Chan, Peter Stanford University Libraries Digital Archivist
41 Dall'Agata, Stefano Ubuntu-it Newsletter Editor
42 Gesing, Sandra University of Notre Dame, Indiana, US Associate Research Professor
43 Greco, Mariagrazia Isabella Conti Eller Vainicher Informatics Professor
44 Jean, Benjamin Inno³ / OpenLaw CEO / President
45 Kiapi K., Frederick Commonwealth People's Association of Uganda Executive Director
46 Nicolaides, Byron Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS) President
47 Palamidessi, Catuscia INRIA Research Director
48 Paradinas, Pierre Société informatique de France President