Alexander Hay

By Alexander Hay, Policy & Communications Consultant, talking with Eric Rexstad, University of St. Andrews.

This article is part of our series: Breaking Software Barriers, in which we investigate how our Research Software Group has helped projects improve their research software. If you would like help with your software, let us know.

Abundance is a good thing not just for animals, but also for the researchers studying them. This study is, however, harder than it sounds, which is why it is an area of particular interest for Eric Rexstad, research fellow at the…

By Alexander Hay, the Institute’s Policy & Communications Consultant, talking with Andreas Hegar, CGAT.

This article is part of our series: Breaking Software Barriers, in which Alexander Hay investigates how our Research Software Group has helped projects improve their research software. If you would like help with your software, let us know.

Life Sciences often suffer from a lack of programming skills. This isn’t always a problem – you don’t need to know how to code in order to gauge the diurnal eating habits of squirrels,…

This year's Collaboration Workshop took place between March 26th and 28th at the Oxford e-Research Centre, was a great success. Its theme was software and reproducible research, and ended with a special Hackday where competing teams coded against the clock to create the best software.

Our sponsors this year were Microsoft, GitHub and the Oxford e-Research Centre itself, and we would in particular like to thank Kenji Takeda, Arfon Smith and the OeRC staff for all their help, not to mention all our attendees!

Naturally, lots of tweeting relating to the Workshop (and its…

By Simon Hettrick and Alexander Hay.

Whether you're researching a cure for cancer or the eating habits of the common toad, every now and then you'll want to tell the outside world about your research. It's time for a press release! Here are our five top tips on preparing one.

1. Do you need professional help?

Press releases need to be written in a journalistic style that will appeal to publishers. Most organisations will have press officers whose job it is to write press releases for researchers. This is typically a free service, because it's in your employer's interest to…

By Alexander Hay.

The Humanities matter. To understand why, it’s worth remembering what they are.

Let's start with an analogy. Say a scientist builds a nuclear reactor in his back garden. The physical sciences explain how he built it. The life sciences explain why his teeth are falling out and the birds in the garden have suddenly gained laser vision. The social sciences explain why the rest of the neighbourhood starts moving away very quickly, for cultural as well as financial reasons, and why the scientist is being taken to court.

Yet why is he doing this? Is…

By Alexander Hay, Policy & Communications Counsultant.

3D printing is all the rage these days it seems, with all manner of medical applications being mooted, not to mention Maplin now selling the UK's first (relatively) cheap home model.

Needless to say, this has plenty of open-source applications just waiting to be exploited by researchers. According to Michigan Technical University, a 3D printer could save the average home around $2,000 a year, based on what it is being used to make and whether open-source designs are used instead of proprietary equivalents.

By Alexander Hay.

Software can be pretty expensive. You won't get much change from £1000 if you want to invest in Photoshop, Final Cut Studio or Pro Tools. But being able to create and edit images, record media and - rather obviously - load it up and play it, are increasingly important in academia. In this post, I'll look at three software packages that give you this functionality - for free!

By Alexander Hay.

What is the best open-source software? This is a question I decided to answer, and so began a long and no doubt eventful journey of discovery. One of my first destinations was at an open-source break out session, which took place last month at the Collaborations Workshop 2013. Cue much debate.

It's not possible (and probably not helpful) to decide on the best software overall, so instead I have focussed on open-source software that is exemplary in certain areas. Here follows the first three examples of this software and…

While exploring the wide, endless vistas of open source software as a mere novice, I came across an interesting question that I felt obliged to answer. How do all the licences work? This is more important than you might think. After all, open source doesn't mean full-on anarchy, and sadly human nature as it presently stands is still in need of someone to paint yellow lines on the road and shout "mind the gap" at tube stations even though you could probably see the gap from orbit.

By Alexander Hay

Anxiously we have waited, fingers crossed as the total finally reaches the magic mark… nails chewed, coffee drunk – all the while, waiting. And then, the moment of final apotheosis, the ascension we have waited so long for…

Yes, dear friends, we now have 1000 Twitter followers.

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