Regular Institute collaborator Dr. Jeffrey Carver of the University of Alabama is conducting a couple of studies relating to the way that people develop research software. These will help provide the community with a better understanding of how different practices, including code review and software metrics are being used in the development of research software.

If you'd like to provide input into these studies, please participate in the following web surveys (each of which will take approximately 15 minutes to complete): 

Code review survey (in conjunction with Nasir Eisty of the University of Alabama) : https://universityofalabama.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bBdeMr08ix8YbXL

Software metrics survey (in conjunction with Dr. George Thiruvathukal from Loyola University-Chicago): https://universityofalabama.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_darjzw2JlY3OXY1

 

Your participation is completely anonymous and voluntary.  You are free not to participate or stop participating any time before you submit your answers. Both research studies have been approved by the University of Alabama Institutional Review Board.

By Simon Hettrick 

Next week, we will be hearing from the successful applicants to last year’s RSE Fellowship, funded by the EPSRC. The Fellows are exceptional individuals in the software field who demonstrate leadership and have combined expertise in programming and a solid knowledge of the research environment.

We’ll first hear from Jeremy Cohen who believes that “research software ought to be easier to use” and will describe his plans to help build communities of RSEs. We’ll hear why Phil Hasnip believes that most physics problems end up being materials problems. Joanna Leng will describe her desire to bring research computing techniques into the imaging community. Finally, we’ll hear from Leila Mureşan who will focus on the field of microscopy imaging.

The EPSRC has recognised the importance of investing in software development and the development of skills and career development for those engaged in software engineering. It is these aspects that this RSE Fellowship addresses. The Software Sustainability Institute and the RSE community campaigned for the development of this Fellowship so, and we are very happy to welcome the new RSE Fellows!

cardforfellows(hols2018).jpgEveryone at the Software Sustainability Institute wishes our friends and colleagues all the best for the holiday season.

In a nutshell, this year has seen the announcement of a wonderful new set of Fellows, a second edition of the RSE conference, even more events, Software and Data Carpentry workshops, and Open Call projects.

After a busy year, we need a little break to get ready for everything we plan to do in  2018, like our Collaborations Workshop 2018. So please excuse us while we switch off our email and social media from the 23rd December to the 3rd January.  

Enjoy the festivities!

We would like to invite everyone working on research software in the Netherlands to complete the RSE survey and spread the word.

The Netherlands Research Software Engineer community (NL-RSE) was started to gain insight into the various communities of RSEs in the Netherlands and increase the interaction between them. The RSE surveys in the UK in 2016 and 2017 [1, 2] have allowed to gain valuable insights and spread the word about the RSE movement. That is why the Netherlands eScience CenterePLAN (Platform of eScience/Data Research Centres in the Netherlands), NL-RSE, and the UK RSE Association are organising this survey for 2017 in the Netherlands.

The study is conducted by the University of Southampton on behalf of the Software Sustainability Institute and complies with University of Southampton ethics guidelines (reference no.: ERGO/FPSE/30610). The investigators are Simon Hettrick and Olivier Philippe. Contacts in the Netherlands are Ben van Werkhoven and Tom Bakker from the Netherlands eScience Center.

[1]: See RSE State of the Nation Report 2017, page 21.

[2]: See UK-…

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The Software Sustainability Institute and zaf-RSE invite anyone coding in and for academia in South Africa to complete this survey on research software. 

As of now there is not much knowledge about the community of those in research and science who develop software. This survey aims to gain valuable insights into this community in order to support research funders and other institutions to develop strategies and funding programs as well as policies.

Last and this years’ UK surveys [1, 2] allowed to gain valuable insights. We would like to build on the momentum gained in the UK RSE community and help to create a voice for the South African RSE community. Similar surveys will be conducted in Canada, Australia, Norway, the Netherlands, the USA and again in the UK. For reasons of comparability, this survey was closely coordinated with the others. We thank Prof Ilani Loubser from the North-West University's Space Physics programme for working with the NWU eResearch Initiative to provide South African context to the survey.

This survey gives South African researchers and scientist the opportunity to make their point of view and experiences be heard, and thus be part of the development of this community. It would be also very helpful if you could spread the word to others who develop software in the South African research landscape, or anyone who employs software experts in the South African academic landscape.

There are ca. 65 questions in this survey. It takes about 10 - 15 minutes to complete. Please note that this research is not compulsory and even if you decide to participate you can withdraw at any…

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As part of our on-going effort to collect information about RSEs in different countries, the SSI and de-RSE have created a specific version of the UK RSE survey for Germany (more information can be found here). 

Participants are needed for this survey on research software and people writing scientific software for Germany. If you are coding in and for academia in Germany then complete the survey and help us spread the word. You can also access a german version of the survey.

As of now there is not much knowledge about the community of those in research and science who develop software. This survey aims to gain valuable insights into this community in order to support research funders and other institutions to develop strategies and funding programs as well as policies.

Last and this years’ UK surveys [1, 2] allowed to gain valuable insights. To continue our success with this campaign, we need to track how the community evolves at other places. Simultaneously, similar surveys will be conducted in Canada, Australia, Norway, the Netherlands, the USA and South Africa. For reasons of comparability, this survey was closely coordinated with the others.

This survey gives German researchers and scientists the opportunity for their point of view and experiences to be heard and thus be part of the development of this community. It would be also very helpful if you could spread the word to others who develop…

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Understanding how to choose a piece of software is difficult. What code should I bet my research on? Will the project producing the software grow or shrink? Is the code base stable or changing? Does the project depend on one organisation or many? Is the community healthy or hopelessly ill?

At the Software Sustainability Institute, we want to ensure that research software is sustainable. One of the ways we can do this is by measuring the general health of the community around the software and developing methodologies and tools for analysing modern software development. With this in place, we can improve the health of projects and make it easier to answer the questions above.

We are therefore delighted that the Software Sustainability Institute is a founding partner in the Community Health Analytics Open Source Software project (CHAOSS). CHAOSS is a new Linux Foundation project focused on creating the analytics and metrics to help define community health that was officially launched this week.

The aims of the project are to:

  • Establish standard implementation-agnostic metrics for measuring software community activity, contributions, and health, which are objective and repeatable.
  • Produce integrated open source software for analyzing software community development.

Other members contributing to the project include Bitergia, Eclipse Foundation, Jono Bacon Consulting, Laval University (Canada),…

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pandas_in_space copy.jpgBy Simon Hettrick, Deputy Director.

This is a story about reproducibility. It’s about the first study I conducted at the Institute, the difficulties I’ve faced in reproducing analysis that was originally conducted in Excel, and it’s testament to the power of a tweet that’s haunted me for three years.

The good news is that the results from my original analysis still stand, although I found a mistake in a subdivision of a question when conducting the new analysis. This miscalculation was caused by a missing “a” in a sheet containing 3763 cells. This is as good a reason as any for moving to a more reproducible platform.

2014: a survey odyssey

Back In 2014, I surveyed a group of UK universities to see how their researchers used software. We believed that an inexorable link existed between software and research, but we had yet to prove it. I designed the study, but I never intended to perform the analysis. This was a job better suited to someone who could write code, and I could not. Unfortunately, things didn’t go to plan and I found myself in the disquieting situation of having an imminent deadline and no one available to do the coding. Under these circumstances, few people have the fortitude to take some time out to learn how to…

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On this page, we've provided more information about the RSE Cloud Computing Award and how it works.

Help

All questions and suggestions should be sent to competition@software.ac.uk.

Terminology

We will use the word event to refer to conferences, meetings, training, workshops and other events.

The word Fellow or Fellows will refer to a recipient of the RSE Cloud Computing Award.

The word expenses will be used to describe expenses incurred for both travel, subsistence and expenses related to the running of and attending events.

Eligibility

Applicants must:

  • Hold a full-time position at a university or non-profit research organisation;
  • Be able to receive award funds into a university/organisation finance account that can be drawn against for reimbursement of incurred expenses;

Applicants may have one or more of the following roles:

  • research software engineer who supports the work of researchers;
  • A researcher who uses software;
  • A developer who writes tools for researchers;
  • In a leadership role in projects or organisations that make heavy use of software, compute, and data services.

Applicants should be UK resident and primarily practicing in the UK. Exceptional applications from outside the UK may be considered at the panel’s sole discretion.

How we decide who succeeds

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The Research Software Engineering (RSE) Cloud Computing Awards, supported by Microsoft, enable RSEs to explore, educate and extend cloud computing for researchers.

Microsoft has championed the Research Software Engineers initiative since its inception. We are strong supporters and participants in the RSE community, and advocate the importance of RSEs as a key pillar of the research ecosystem.  The Azure for Research initiative has involved thousands of researchers worldwide, working on hundreds of projects, to see how cloud computing can empower researchers to achieve more. The goal of the RSE Cloud Computing Awards program is to create a community bridging researchers, university stakeholders, regional teams, and national services, to better understand how Microsoft Azure can enable better, faster, and more reproducible research.

How to apply

Microsoft is proud to work with the RSE Network to support successful applicants with the following benefits:

  • £2000 GBP to support education, outreach, and implementation of research solutions using the Microsoft Cloud;
  • 12 months of Microsoft Azure credits at $250 USD per month, up to $3,000 for one year;
  • Opportunity to provide direct feedback to Microsoft;
  • Promotion of RSE cloud computing activity with Microsoft Azure to a national and global audience, providing visibility of the applicant’s work and impact.
  • Use of the title RSE Cloud Computing Fellow.

Successful applicants should demonstrate…

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