The Workshop on Sustainable Software Sustainability - WoSSS21 took place in October 2021 and brought together leaders, managers and specialists in software sustainability. The topics covered included Open Science, FAIR software, human and technical infrastructure, advances in research software and software aspects of cultural heritage. The Report on the Workshop on Sustainable Software Sustainability 2021 (WoSSS21) is now available and is the 4th report in the series of WoSSS reports. The report highlights a snapshot of the findings from the WoSSS21 workshop around the state of software sustainability efforts. It contains featured sections where authors have provided information beyond a summary, summary sections, and discussions which took place at the workshop with links to videos of the talks, links to slides (where available) and transcripts.
WoSSS21 took place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It consisted of four half-day sessions with two optimised for inclusion of participants from western time zones and two sessions which were easier for those in eastern time zones to attend. We had over 90 organisations represented at the workshop, and over 20 countries. Although this was a European lead workshop there were more registrations from the US than anywhere else. We had over 170 registrations and a gender balance of 50% male and 36% female, 2% self described and 12% did not disclose - it was a diverse event. With over 75% of those attending saying that it was their first WoSSS event, it opened up WoSSS to a new audience, projects and points of view.
Here we list some of the key findings of the report in the areas of cultural heritage, Open Science, FAIR, human factors research software and sustainability infrastructure:
In cultural heritage
Collaboration, knowledge sharing, digital preservation and data loss are key concerns that need active support from funders and organisations.
Software policies, infrastructure and digital skills training need to work with existing organisational structures and processes to have the maximum effectiveness.
In Open Science and FAIR
The FAIR for Research Software (FAIR4RS) principles are an important part of modern transparent and reproducible research and should be supported by policy makers and publishers.
Inclusive behaviour, positive and supportive culture and watching out for burnout are important to sustain the most important aspect of software sustainability - the people who do the work.
Advertising for software related roles in research such as research software engineer, data stewardship, information science and data curation are increasing; this positive trend should be supported further by policy makers, funders and organisations to create sustainable career pathways for these essential posts.
Tooling is maturing to make software preservation and reproducibility easier to perform (e.g. Reprozip and RO-Crate) and to bring different parts of analysis together in the form of workflow languages and systems (e.g. CWL and Galaxy).
“Long lived software” is another domain of research and it overlaps with software sustainability; collaboration between these communities will increase learning and decrease re-work.
Open source centres of excellence are an important model for the adoption of FAIR and open practices in research; they originate from the global south and are a model that can be adopted and adapted globally.
Infrastructure for software sustainability
The ReSA people roadmap provides an overview of the landscape of community initiatives in the research software ecosystem to support inclusive, nurturing environments where the work of individuals on software is recognised. National and international funders, policy makers and organisations need to promote the need for the culture change necessary to put initiatives that make a difference on a sustainable footing.