If we build a setup at the lab, we describe it as home-built when we write the paper. What is the correct word to describe a program written by the author? The program has not been published and there is no intention to do so.

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    Would home-built not also be suitable?
    – Ian_Fin
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 13:37
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    Alternatively, maybe custom?
    – Ian_Fin
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 13:44
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    @scrappedcola Proprietary typically describes the ownership of the IP. You could have non-proprietary software you developed yourself, and proprietary software which someone else developed.
    – Ian_Fin
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 15:00
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    prototype is the term I usually use for that Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 15:29
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    @FábioDias Prototype would imply that the software was in an early, potentially unfinished, form. Nothing the OP has said suggests this is the case. More importantly, prototype also says nothing about who wrote the software.
    – Ian_Fin
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 15:43

1 Answer 1


"in-house" program is the term I always use myself and see in other people's papers.

In the corporate context, Wikipedia defines it as

In-house software is a software that is produced by a corporate entity for purpose of using it within the organization.

Here's an example in an academic context

Energy minimization is done with yammp, an in-house molecular mechanics package.

Here's another example from academia

All analyses were done with a battery of in-house codes and external analytical tools.

I wouldn't say "in-house" strictly means "the source code is private". I have sometimes seen people use "in-house" to mean "code our own research group wrote and uses, but which we also make available as open-source code". But if I see a sentence in an article like "All analysis was performed using in-house code", and no reference, then I read it as "We used some code we wrote ourselves which we haven't published anywhere", which sounds like what you want.

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