Collaborations Workshop 2022 (CW22) brought together researchers, developers, innovators, managers, funders, publishers, policy makers, leaders and educators to explore Code Review, Ethics, Hybrid Working, and Software Sustainability.
CW22 took place virtually for the third time from 4-7 April due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. CW22 was generously sponsored by F1000 Research and Figshare, whose support allowed us to maintain high standards with the infrastructure, accessibility and social aspects of the unconference. Here we will share some highlights from the four-day virtual event.
We had originally intended for CW22 to be a hybrid event with the in-person element hosted in Belfast (where CW20 was meant to take place). However, the risk assessment we carried out indicated that there was still too much risk involved in organising an in-person event due to the uncertainty around the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We therefore decided to remain online for a third year, which provided the opportunity to reuse and refine the infrastructure we built for running a virtual CW during the previous two years.
We followed our methodology documented in the Institute’s Event Organisation Guide: CW21 In Practice for the organisation of CW22, with some modifications. One included reformatting the agenda for a hybrid-working world by having three shorter days for the main workshop (instead of two long ones) plus the Hack Day.
During the morning session of Day One, Daniel Nüst, researcher at the Institute for Geoinformatics, University of Münster, Germany, gave the keynote on code review titled “Code execution during peer review”. Daniel talked about the CODECHECK and Reproducible AGILE initiatives, which promote the reproducibility of research results through code sharing. He emphasised that code review is not the same as reproducibility review, and that culture change towards more reproducible computational research is slow. His take away message is that at the very least your code should have a README to enable others to be able to run and reuse it.
Dr Pamela Ugwudike, Associate Professor of Criminology and Director of Research at the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology, University of Southampton, then delivered the keynote on ethics titled “Ethical Issues In Software Design & Development: A Focus On Justice Systems”. Pamela discussed how best to conceptualise what we mean by ethics, and why it is important to consider ethical implications when building software and datasets. She demonstrated why ethics should be at the forefront of software design and deployment, and how unethical practices can introduce bias and other harmful outcomes. Software development can potentially produce immeasurable benefits and enhance the quality of life, and she discusses that it is equally important to anticipate ethical challenges and consider how best to avoid them.
Great reminder from @PamelaUgwudike 's powerful keynote on ethics that data isn't truly neutral: it reflects the biases of the collectors. Bias can be magnified where the data is used by software - which also reflects bias and digital capital of its creators! #CollabW22
What ethical considerations should be taken into account in open source governance?
How do we best run hybrid/blended meetings and events (where some people are attending in person and others are virtual)?
What support is needed/missing for RSE & software sustainability in the Galleries/Libraries/Archives/Museums (GLAM) sector?
Keep an eye on the SSI blog, as we will be sharing what participants wrote over the coming weeks.
At the end of Day One, SSI Fellow Ben Krikler facilitated the first social activity, Meet and Mingle on RemotelyGreen: a social hour where participants were matched in groups based on selected topics of interest, and provided an icebreaker prompt question to help guide the interaction.
Day Two began with a panel discussion around the practical implications of ethics in research/software by Laura Carter (PhD candidate, Human Rights Research Methods, University of Essex), Garnett Achieng (Data & Digital Rights Researcher, Pollicy), Arielle Bennett (Research Project Manager, Tools, Practices, & Systems, The Alan Turing Institute), Stef Garasto (Lecturer in Data Science, University of Greenwich, and Ethics Committee Member, DataKind UK), and Andrew Strait (Associate Director of Research Partnerships, Ada Lovelace Institute). The panellists discussed examples of how they implement ethics in the work that they do, how it strengthens their work and the benefits; who’s involved in research and the power dynamics that can come into play; and resources that people can use to help support them when they are considering ethical implications in their work.
Participants then divided into groups for the Collaborative Ideas session, where they went into breakout rooms and worked to come up with solutions to problems they experience in research. We then put all the ideas generated to a vote, and Sherman Lo, Matthew Alexandrakis, Dmitry Nikolaenko, Felicity Anderson, Matthew Bluteau, and Mario Antonioletti won for their idea “Code Review Cupid” - a matchmaking service for connecting coders. You can view the other Collaborative Ideas groups and winners here.
A total of 12 mini-workshops and demo sessions took place across Days Two and Three at CW22 relating to the key themes. The Code Review Community, an international and multi-sectoral group interested in advancing code review in research, facilitated a session to demonstrate and get feedback on their guide for code review during development. SSI Fellow Dave Horsfall and Anika Cawthorn facilitated the session “Good mental health, good research software” to provide a space to talk about mental health freely and without judgement, look at what mental health is, and investigate the common stressors for research software engineers.
At the end of Day Two, SSI Community Manager Rachael Ainsworth facilitated the second social activity, a quiz in Zoom. Teams were formed by randomly assigning participants to groups in breakout rooms, and given time to introduce themselves and come up with a team name. The questions were then screen shared to the breakout rooms where the teams would have 10 minutes to answer each round’s questions and network with each other. At the end of each round, the teams were brought back to the main room to shout out the answers, before going back to their breakout rooms for the next round.
can't believe #CollabW22 is over already! 😓 had a wonderful time throughout, and met so many lovely people 🎉🎊
The morning session of Day Three included the second round of mini-workshops and demo sessions followed by an overview of the Discussions and Collaborative Ideas that took place during the unconference, prize giving for the winning Collaborative Ideas, and closing remarks. The afternoon session involved the start of the Hack Day, where project pitching and team formation took place.
CW22 concluded with the Hack Day, where four teams formed to work on projects generated during the Collaborative Ideas session and other ideas pitched during the course of the event. The winners of the Hack Day were Declan Bays, Sherman Lo, Felicity Anderson, Jannetta Steyn, Dmitry Nikolaenko, and Jiada Tu for their project “Code Review Cupid” - a matchmaking service which will help you find the perfect person to review your code, and let you review theirs in exchange. You can view the other Hack Day teams and winners here.
Recordings of the keynotes, lightning talks, mini-workshops and Hack Day project demos will be made available on the SSI Youtube channel in the coming weeks, and all CW22 outputs (including blog posts and other resources) will be tagged on the SSI website with Collaborations Workshop 2022. In the meantime, you can view the live streams of the keynote and panel presentations below:
What are your highlights from Collaborations Workshop 2022? We would love to hear about your experience of the event, so feel free to get in touch with Rachael Ainsworth, SSI Community Manager at email@example.com if you would like to write a blog post about CW22 for the SSI blog. You can already read SSI Fellow Matthew Bluteau’s Notes from the SSI Collaborations Workshop 2022.