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Citation neededBy Stephan Druskat, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Radovan Bast, University of Tromsø, Neil Chue Hong, Software Sustainability Institute, University of Edinburgh, Alexander Konovalov, University of St Andrews, Andrew Rowley, University of Manchester, and Raniere Silva, Software Sustainability Institute, University of Manchester

The citation of research software has a number of purposes, most importantly attribution and credit, but also the provision of impact metrics for funding proposals, job interviews, etc. Stringent software citation practices, as proposed by Katz et al. [1], therefore include the citation of a software version itself, rather than a paper about the software. Direct software citation also enables reproducibility of research results as the exact version can be retrieved from the citation. Unique digital object identifiers (DOIs) for software versions can already be reserved via providers such as Zenodo or figshare, but disseminating (and finding) citation information for software is still difficult…

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RSEsBy Caroline Jay, University of Manchester, Albert Solernou, University of Leeds, and Mark Woodbridge, Imperial College London

At present, few higher education institutions in the UK - or indeed internationally - employ a central team of dedicated research software engineers (RSEs) who sit outside of any specific academic department. The allocation of baseline funding to software developers is considered a risky activity when every member of staff represents a significant ongoing cost which has to be recovered. A cautious approach to employing people in what may be perceived as a completely new role is understandable, particularly in an uncertain financial climate.

Nevertheless, permanently employing RSEs has the potential to pay huge dividends, a fact borne out by the institutions who have established central pools, including the University of Manchester, UCL and the Turing Institute, and rapidly expanded their teams.

Institutional benefits of employing RSEs

A primary benefit of including software engineers on the baseline can be summed up by the Software Sustainability Institute mantra of “better software, better research”. Involving professional software engineers in research projects leads to better quality data, analysis and results, which has a direct impact on the scientific evidence base. Higher…

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Fellows 2018

By Raniere Silva, Community Officer

We started recruiting for our Fellowship Programme 2018 in August 2017. 44 applications, 176 reviews and two online review meetings later, we are happy to announce our 17 new Software Sustainability Institute Fellows for 2018. With many amazing candidates, our new research software ambassadors represent some of the best people working in—and advocating for—better research software.

Compared to previous years, we noticed a drop by more than half of the number of applications, probably due the changes to this year’s application process, but every reviewer commented that the candidates were excellent and that this was the hardest year so far to select our fellows.

2018 Fellows come from eight fields in the Joint Academic Coding System (JACS) code, including Medical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Engineering, Computer Sciences, Social Studies and Business and Administrative Studies. Their work is supported from BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC, NERC and STFC.

We have representatives from 11 institutions in the UK, including the Cabinet Office for the first time. The University College London and the University of Sheffield are the institutions with more fellows this year (three fellows each). Our theory is that this is a…

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Yo Yehudi

University of Cambridge

Interests

As a software engineer working in academia, my interests include "open" in all its popular science-related incarnations:

  • Open source software (all scientific software should be open source, peer reviewed, and examinable!)
  • Open data (without it, so many great projects couldn't exist)
  • Open access (science should be for everyone, not just those who can afford it!)

Alongside this comes a great love of creating usable software and interacting with open communities.

My work

I've working at InterMine, an open source genomics data platform, at the University of Cambridge since 2015. Prior to this, I've worked at academic spin-out jobs and various industry jobs as a software developer and IT Technician. These days I spend most of my time working on BlueGenes, a new user interface for InterMine, as well as spending a lot of time on community outreach.

Working open source made me notice at some point that academic code and software papers often omit any links to the code they're discussing! Once I'd realised this it grew to become a passion of mine. An important part of science is peer review and reproducibility. If one were to submit, say, a mathematics paper, it seems unlikely that the paper would be accepted if the actual mathematical proofs weren't present. So why do people get away with this when it happens with computer code? More importantly, if…

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Tania Allard

University of Sheffield

Interests

  • Computational modelling and applied computer simulation
  • Pathways to reproducible, replicable, open, and transparent computational research
  • Complex data analysis and simulation workflows
  • Scientific community and capacity building

My work

I am a Research Software Engineer at the University of Sheffield. Before this I had conducted research on control systems for implantable drug delivery devices and completed a PhD in computational materials science at the University of Manchester. During the course of my PhD I became aware of the importance of developing open and sustainable scientific software as well as of the needs for reproducibility guidelines and incentives in computationally intensive scientific areas. As such I became an advocate for software development best practices and open software and data.

As a RSE I work with a number of researchers working on computationally intensive research projects, either at the early stages (e.g. designing their data collection and curation strategies and software requirements) or during the later stages in their projects (e.g. code optimisation, packaging). Working as an RSE means that I am often involved in the creation of new software as well as developing novel techniques or approaches to improve or modify existing applications. In addition to developing, testing, and maintaining software I also advise researchers on ways to make the most of their code and to…

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Stuart Grieve

University College London

Interests

Professionally, my role as a research software developer allows me to combine my passions for geoscience research and computational techniques. I am particularly interested in how the development and implementation of open source software can facilitate reproducible research in the geosciences.

My work

My research aims to develop an understanding of how signals of change, such as those driven by tectonics or the environment, manifest in the surface morphology of the Earth and other planetary bodies. In particular, I aim to bridge the gap between numerical models, remotely sensed data and field observations and I conduct such research through the development of open source software which facilitates reproducible analysis, with a particular focus on the processing of high resolution remotely sensed topographic data. Such software allows repeatable experiments to be performed on both terrestrial and planetary landscapes, at a range of scales spanning individual hillslopes to continental scale features. I am also interested in the application of cutting edge GIS and computer science techniques to enhance surface process research, through the analysis of complex spatial information combined with novel data collection approaches.

Online Presence

My website

My ORCiD

My…

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Sammie-Buzzard

University College London

Interests

Glaciology, ice shelves, snow, sea ice, mathematical modelling, satellite observations

My work

My background is in Mathematics, I gained a first class Master's degree from the University of Exeter before moving to the University of Reading's Department of Meteorology for my PhD. This involved creating a mathematical model of surface melt lakes on Antarctic ice shelves which are important as they are thought to be linked to sudden ice shelf collapse. I am currently working in my first research post at UCL's Earth Sciences Department, focussing on snow on Arctic sea ice from satellite observations.

As former president and current committee member of the UK Polar Network, a group of early career polar scientists, I hope to use the fellowship to improve software use in the cryosphere community, especially among early career scientists.

Online Presence

My institutional website

My website

My ORCiD

My GitHub page

Follow me on Twitter @treacherousbuzz

My LinkedIn

Check out…

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Richard AdamsCranfield University

Interests

Research ionterests lie at the intersection of innovation, gigital and technological disruption and entrepreneurship, business models and sustainability

My work

Dr Richard Adams is Reader in Entrepreneurship at the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship, Cranfield University, and has previously held positions at Universities of Surrey and Exeter, Imperial College London as well as with the UK Cochrane Centre. My work, which lies at the intersection of (responsible) innovation, digital and technological disruption, sustainability and technology entrepreneurship, is practically focused and seeks to meet the twin hurdles of academic rigour and industrial relevance. I have published widely, in excess of 60 journal and conference papers and have, most recently, guest-edited a special issue of Strategic Change: Briefings in Entrepreneurial Finance on The Future of Money and Further Applications of the Blockchain.

As a 2018 Fellow of the Software Sustainability Institute, I plan to explore ways in which researchers in the field of management and organisational studies can be encouraged to make better use of computational approaches in their research. In particular, I will be investigating computationally-supported approaches to content analysis in systematic review. I am delighted that Professor Richard Vidgen will be mentoring me through the Fellowship. During the course of the Fellowship, I will be running a workshop at Cranfield University on this…

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Reka SolymosiUniversity of Manchester

Interests

I'm interested in social data science, transport, crime, and collecting data about everyday life. Fan of rstats, data visualisation, open data, meetups, and pizza!

My work

Reka is a Lecturer in Quantiative Methods with interests in data analysis and visualisation, crowdsourcing, rstats, fear of crime, transport, and collecting data about everyday life. As a former crime analyst she is interested in practical applications to research and solving everyday problems with data.

Online Presence

My institutional website

My website

My ORCiD

My Google Scholar

My GitHub page

Follow me on Twitter @r_solymosi

Check out contributions by and mentions of Reka Solymosi on www.software.ac.uk

Overcoming barriersBy Alys Brett, UK Atomic Energy Authority, Sam Cox, University of Leicester, Carina Haupt, German Aerospace Center (DLR), and Jason Maassen, Netherlands eScience Center.

When we talk in general terms about software development practices most people will nod along, maybe slightly nervously. From experience, we know that it can be hard for some commonly accepted good practices to gain traction or be sustained after the initial enthusiasm. However, this can often be overcome if standard approaches are adapted to better fit within a research context.  

What are the barriers?

The research sphere is very varied, but there are a number of recurring barriers to adoption of best practice in the research context.

The career histories of researchers create a wide range of skill levels - while some researchers are already used to best practice in a number of areas, others have a very basic level of experience. While in a corporate context most team members may be at a similar level due to shared…

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