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Photo by Austin Neill

The Lisbon Council for Economic Competitiveness and Social Renewal asbl will run the webinar “Why Recognising Scientific Software Experts is Key to Open Science” on Thursday 13th June 2019 from 10:00 to 11:00 AM BST.

Simon Hettrick, deputy director of the Software Sustainability Institute and co-director of Southampton Research Software Group, will present the work carried out in the United Kingdom and elsewhere to promote, recognise and reward Research Software Engineers (RSEs), a collective term created to bring together software experts with an understanding of both research and software engineering.

Simon will speak about the current challenges faced by RSEs, such as a general lack of recognition of the work they do and a lack of an attractive career path. He will also explore the impact of the movement, including the creation of the UK Research Software Engineers Association (UKRSE), which now has more than 1,400 members and has inspired the creation of similar associations in a number of other countries such as Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway.

Register for the…

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Photo by XiaoXiao Sun

The 2019 RSE Conference Committee is looking for volunteers to help run the RSEConUK 2019 taking place at the University of Birmingham, 17th - 19th September 2019.

You should be friendly and outgoing to help us with a variety of activities for our conference participants including:

  • Welcoming and registering participants
  • Assisting in workshops and talks
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Photo by Matt Botsford

In the third episode of the Nature careers podcast series on workplace technologies, Simon Hettrick, Software Sustainability Institute Deputy Director, tells Julie Gould about the role of research software engineers (RSEs). Simon also talks about the history of the research software engineer as a career path, including the birth of RSE groups and the annual RSE Conference, what they do, how their skills can support researchers with limited coding skills, and how you can become one.

Harriet Alexander kicks off the podcast explaining her role as a Software Carpentry instructor, who typically attends these courses, how can they benefit, and what they learn.

Listen to the episode.

Logo of Society of Research Software EngineeringThe Society of Research Software Engineering is running a free workshop for aspiring RSE leaders. It will provide you with the contacts and expertise to run your own RSE Group or become a leader in the RSE community. At the workshop you will network with established RSE leaders, learn about some of the challenges facing RSEs and RSE Groups, and take part in discussions about the solutions to these challenges.

The workshop is free to attend. Accommodation, meals and travel expenses will be covered by the Society of Research Software Engineering and the Software Sustainability Institute. Since places are limited, attendees will be chosen based on their responses to an application form (see below) which will be judged by a panel of RSEs.

Date: Wednesday 1st & Thursday 2nd May 2019.

Location: Careys Manor, Brockenhurst, Hampshire.

To apply for a place at the workshop, please complete the application form.

Applications will be accepted until 17.00 on 12th April. Applicants will be notified by 16 April about the success of their application.

Details on the application:

  1. You will be asked “Why do you want to attend the workshop?” (in no more than 300 words).

  2. You will be asked “How do you plan…

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Image courtesy of Kazareith.

By Daniel S. Katz, Daina Bouquin and Neil Chue Hong.

This blog post was originally published in Daniel S. Katz's blog.

Identification of software is essential to a number of important issues, such as citation, provenance, and reproducibility. Here, we are focusing on issues related to citation. Identification can be thought of as a subset of naming. Some important questions are therefore: How do we name things? How do we know how things are named? And who gets to name things?

When we name something, we give it identity. Identity allows us to use the name for a unique object or class of objects, and as a result allows distinction and classification. It also enables the connection of the thing being named to the wider sense of how it is understood: other metadata in many cases. Naming something may also give it legitimacy, depending on who is naming the object(s).

Some types of entities, for example, people, are named by their creators (their parents). People can also, at some point, name themselves. We can call this creator identification and self-identification. These names are legally stored in…

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Distribution of RSEs per country

By Olivier Philippe, Policy Researcher, Software Sustainability Institute

Last year, we asked you to fill a survey about you and your job as a Research Software Engineer. The goal was to have a clear picture of who you are and what you're doing in order to help us to tailor our actions and to promote the role of RSE.
For this third iteration, we had more collaborators to adapt the survey to gather replies from more countries. We have included specific questions and answers for the following countries, and we've listed our main contacts there:

  • Australia: Manodeep Sinha, Nick May
  • Canada: Scott Henwood
  • Germany: Stephan Druskat, Katrin Leinweber, Stephan Janosch and Martin Hammitzsch
  • Netherlands: Ben van Werkhoven and Tom Bakker
  • New Zealand: Nooriyah P. Lohani
  • South Africa:  Anelda van der Walt
  • United States: Daniel Katz and Sandra Gesing

This year, we also had the possibility to include participants from all around the world, and not only from the seven countries mentioned above.

In total, we had 985 replies for the survey. In particular, a total of 237 unique responses from participants in the UK were analysed.

All the data and plotting are available on the…

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RSE18 attendees. Image courtesy of Cristin
Merritt, WHPC Social Media Volunteer.

We need your help filling in the  2018 RSE survey. You are eligible if you're working with research software.

Previous RSE surveys have targeted specific countries. This year's RSE survey welcomes people from all over the world to participate.

Please note the survey will close on 31st December 2018.

The survey takes about 10-15 minutes to complete (ca. 80 questions). Please note that this research is not compulsory and even if you decide to participate you can withdraw at any moment.

The purpose of the survey is to collect information about people who develop software that is used in research. We call these people Research Software Engineers (RSEs), but they use many different job titles (including postdoctoral researcher and research assistant). This survey gives you the opportunity to share your point of view and experiences, and thus be part of the development of this community. It would be also very helpful if you could help spread the word to others who develop software in the research landscape or anyone who employs software experts in academia.

If you have any issues or questions, you can refer to the …

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Whole_conf_photo.jpgThe Software Sustainability Institute invites everyone working on research software to fill in the 2018 RSE survey.

Previous RSE surveys have targeted specific countries. This year's RSE survey welcomes people from all over the world to participate. Please note the survey will close on 31st December 2018.

The survey takes about 10-15 minutes to complete (ca. 80 questions). Please note that this research is not compulsory and even if you decide to participate you can withdraw at any moment.

The purpose of the survey is to collect information about people who develop software that is used in research. We call these people Research Software Engineers (RSEs), but they use many different job titles (including postdoctoral researcher and research assistant). This survey gives you the opportunity to share your point of view and experiences, and thus be part of the development of this community. It would be also very helpful if you could help spread the word to others who develop software in the research landscape or anyone who employs software experts in academia.

If you have any issues or questions, you can refer to the Github repository used to create this survey.  Alternatively, you can send an email to …

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38523074811_210bcc3ed4_z.jpgBy Mike Jackson, Software Architect, The Software Sustainability Institute

On the 7th March, Jisc and the Software Sustainability Institute ran a Software Deposit and Preservation Policy and Planning Workshop at Jisc’s Brettenham House in London. This was part of an activity, funded by Jisc, to provide software deposit and preservation guidance, in particular to develop use cases and workflows for software deposit via Jisc's Research Data Shared Service (RDSS). A draft report on the workshop is now available.

Read the draft report, available on Zenodo (doi:10.5281/zenodo.1250310).

We also invite feedback on the report. In particular we welcome additional sources of information and other resources relating to software deposit and preservation, corrections, clarifications and additional suggestions as to future work. If you'd like to provide feedback, then please add this to our copy of the report on Google Docs, noting your full name and affiliation so we can…

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7337761518_57b80d725b_z.jpgBy Simon Hettrick, Deputy Director.

When I first started thinking about how we could create a career path for Research Software Engineers (RSEs) in academia, I assumed we would have to persuade university management to change their policies and make it possible, or at least much easier, for researchers to retain RSEs within their groups. The actual solution has been somewhat different, and much more effective.

Pioneers at a growing number of universities have seized the initiative and set up their own RSE group. These groups employ a number of RSEs and then hire them out to researchers at their home organisation. It’s a win-win for researchers: they gain access to the skills they need and—unlike hiring new personnel—they only pay when they need those skills. By servicing an entire university, RSE groups tap into enough demand to allow a number of RSEs to be consistently employed.

When RSE groups are first launched they tend to hire generalists, but as they grow they can hire more specialists, which makes skills available that researchers could only dream of accessing without such a group. As they grow, RSE groups need senior staff who can run larger projects and oversee the work of others, and this creates the RSE career path that has been so sorely needed.

In…

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