Fellows newsletter: October 2020

Posted by j.laird on 1 October 2020 - 2:00pm

Computer saying stay connected
Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona 

Welcome to the new monthly SSI Fellows Newsletter which shares activities and opportunities taking place within the SSI Fellows' community. Read on for a summary of the latest community call, as well as contributions and calls for collaboration from the SSI Fellows. 

Fellow’s Spotlight

Dr Sorrel Harriet, Senior Lecturer, Leeds Trinity University

Updates from Fellows call

For the past year I have been exploring the impact of management and process on software dependent research projects. Above all, I wanted to investigate the interpersonal aspect of software development in the academic research context. With the help of the SSI, I collected and analysed over 14 hours worth of interview data, along with a small amount of quantitative data. From the analysis, I identified several key themes and have proposed some high-level recommendations for effective collaborative development. In the focus group at this month's community call, I'd like to start a discussion around one or two of these recommendations. I'd like to ask the community, how might we support each other to implement these in practice? Is there an appetite for a group initiative? I am looking forward to hearing what ideas people come up with!

My non-work highlight

Earlier this year I joined an agile coaching group, mostly out of curiosity. The group is a mixture of novice and experienced coaches who take turns coaching and offering feedback to one another.  It took me a few sessions to really understand what it was all about, and by that point I was hooked. Last week I volunteered to coach for the first time. It was utterly terrifying but I learned so much.

My recommendations

My best reads in a pandemic are Rewire Your Brain by John B. Arden and The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands by Mary Seacole. Arden helped me prepare for lockdown, while Mrs Seacole put things firmly in perspective.

Community Call Recap 

During the September SSI Fellows Community Call, we heard a Fellows’ update from Sorrel Harriet and her progress with the Impact of Management and Process in Academic Research Software (IMPARS) project. In breakout rooms, we discussed how the SSI can support research software project management as next steps for IMPARS, what funders can do to make RSEs accepted parts of research culture, and how to change “toxic” cultures in academia. You can watch the recording here.

Fellows’ and related activities

  • Coding Club - Have you been wanting to dive into R for a while now, but never quite got around to it? Or have you been using R for a while, but want to take your skills further? Coding Club is moving online and anyone can participate remotely in the workshops. During each session, tutors will be available to answer questions and provide help. Tutorials are published online and can also be done in your own time. For more information please visit https://ourcodingclub.github.io/ and view the full workshop schedule for Semester 1 here. Join the email list by emailing ourcodingclub@gmail.com to receive connection details for upcoming workshops.
  • Data Horror Stories - Do you have a tale of bad stats, strange correlations, malicious intent or plain stupidity? Open Data Manchester, HER+Data MCR and PyData MCR have teamed up to bring you a night of Data Horror Stories! Join us Tuesday, 27 October 2020, 18:30 GMT for a night of data-based cautionary tales and share your stories and experiences. Register for the event here and email Rachael if you have a 5 minute story or cautionary tale that you’d like to share.
  • Turing Way Book Dash - The Turing Way is hosting its next book dash online from 9-13 November 2020 and you are invited to apply (deadline is 22 October). The Turing Way Book Dash is a collaborative event where you'll work with others to add to and improve the Turing Way book. Financial support for participation is available for everyone who would get selected. Please contact Malvika for more information. 
  • Series of Online Research Software Events (SORSE) - Opportunities for Research Software Engineers (RSEs) to develop and grow their skills, build new collaborations and engage with RSEs worldwide. This is an open call to all RSEs and anyone involved with research software worldwide, to propose a talk, a workshop, a software demo, a panel or discussion, blog post or poster. After each event, SORSE will provide an opportunity for networking and informal discussion with other participants in small groups. For more information, to submit an abstract and to see the full programme, please visit https://sorse.github.io/ 

Upcoming events and calls

  • Code Review Community Working Group - F1000 Research are setting up a ‘community working group’ to see if and how publishers, institutions, and other stakeholders can support research code review as part of or in addition to the software article publication process. 
    • Date: 2 October 2020, 15:00-16:00 BST
    • Location: Online
    • Link: Please email Hollydawn Murray for more information and the connection details for the call.
  • Research Software Developers Day - The aim of this conference is to foster a community of research software developers and to collectively improve the standard of software used for scientific research. For this, our first edition, we focus on three main themes: reproducibility, software quality and infrastructure. 

Want to discuss this post with us? Send us an email or contact us on Twitter @SoftwareSaved.