RSE Global Environment

The following environment variables can be set to determine runtime behavior.


If set, identify your Research Software Encyclopedia by way of the path to this file.

export RSE_CONFIG_FILE=/path/to/rse.ini

By doing so, you can interact with your software repository via rse.ini without needing to specify --config_file.


the number of multiprocessing workers to use. This value is set to be 2*2nproc + 1 if not set.


The default shell for an interactive client (defaults to ipython, then checks python, and bpython)

The default endpoint to retrieve criteria and taxonomy information. Defaults to to provide each of:


the database to use. For example, you can specify just filesystem or sqlite, or postgresql or mysql+pymysql for mysql. For the last three, you can optionally specify RSE_DATABASE_STRING to include a particular set of credentials needed for access, and this is recommended over providing the values into the rse.ini config for a software repository. To export a particular database type, here are examples:

export RSE_DATABASE=mysql+pymysql
export RSE_DATABASE=postgresql
export RSE_DATABASE=filesystem
export RSE_DATABASE=sqlite

For more permanent settings, you should use the configure client instead.


If you have a custom string for a database or file, you can specify it with RSE_DATABASE_STRING. For example, sqlite might look like this:

export RSE_DATABASE_STRING=mydatabase.db

and would create mydatabase.db in your software repository root. For a relational database with username, password, and tables, you would export a full string:

export RSE_DATABASE_STRING=username:password@host/dbname

See database setup for more details.


If you want to set the logging level from the environment, set RSE_LOG_LEVEL to one of “WARNING” “DEBUG” “INFO” “CRITICAL” “ERROR” or “FATAL”. For example, to silence most all messages, we might set it to fatal:


You can override the environment default by way of using the --log_level flag:

$ rse --log_level INFO get

If you set an environment level that is not one of the choices, it will default to using info. If you provide an inccorect value to --log_level you will be asked to run the command again and choose from the valid choices.


The endpoint to retrieve the taxonomy and criteria from. Defaults to



The repository to post criteria and taxonomy annotations to, via the static interface. Defaults to


RSE Dashboard


If you are running a server and want to add a prefix to the url, export that:

export RSE_URL_PREFIX=/software

This is especially important if you are running rse export for GitHub pages, as you’ll need the url prefix to coincide with the GitHub pages repository name.


In the case that you are exporting content for GitHub pages, you’ll want to export RSE_HOST to be the hostname and port that you need. For example:

export RSE_HOST=

RSE Parsers

Each parser can maintain it’s own namespace of environment variables. These should be specified in the format RSE_<PARSER>_<NAME>


To interact with GitHub repositories with reasonable API limits, it’s recommended to set this environment variable, a personal access token or a GitHub actions GITHUB_TOKEN.

export RSE_GITHUB_TOKEN=1234...


You can also provide a zenodo API token to increase limits for the Zenodo parser.

export RSE_ZENODO_TOKEN=1234...