What do we do?

The Software Sustainability Institute provides a range of services to help you with your research software.



We provide short consultancy sessions on topics such as software engineering process, design and documentation reviews, community engagement and publicity, and sustainability evaluations. An analyst from the Software Sustainability Institute will meet with your group and discuss your project to identify issues and discuss solutions. This will typically result in a detailed report containing a set of recommendations compiled by our software experts (example: JournalTOCs review), and may lead to a collaborative project. 

Our software evaluation service can help you to improve your software. It can assess the general usability and identify technical or development issues, as well as any barriers to sustainability. Our process for evaluating software is completely open, and can be found in our software evaluation guide. There's also a self-assessment version you can try out online right now!



Best practice guides and resources


We provide resources for researchers and developers on best practices in research-oriented software engineering.

Our series of Guides covers subjects that are important to software and research, such as developing maintainable software, choosing the right open-source software for your project, software preservation, or you might even be interested in our anti-guide how to frustrate your users, annoy other developers and please lawyers.

When we come across a good example of sustainability in practice, we will write about it and publish it on our case studies page. We also list all the useful resources that we find.



Collaborative projects

HumanPyramidSq.jpgWe collaborate on longer-term development projects with individual research groups and consortia. We work with relatively mature community focussed software to improve its usability (documentation, installation, integration and performance), quality and maintainability (test coverage, software refactoring, migration to new infrastructure), or community development (dissemination and publicity, engagement, market expansion, training, governance). Examples of previous projects we have worked on can be found on the Who do we work with section of this website.

If you're interested in working with us this way, we operate a regular Open Call for projects with a lightweight application form - please get in touch!

Although we do not provide funding, we can advise on how to gain funding from other organisations and we can partner with your project to bid for joint funding to undertake a collaborative project. If you are interested in exploring this, please let us know.


Community engagement


We operate three complementary networks of researchers to provide two-way information exchange:

  • Senior Scientific Advisors
  • Agents are a group of researchers from a wide range of fields who help keep the Institute up to date on the latest developments in their field.
  • SeIUCCR Community  Champions are trusted voices, respected scientists who are also e-infrastructure users. Leading by example they promote uptake of e-Infrastructures within their communities and remove some of traditional perceived barriers to its usage.

Part of the information they and our own staff provide are conference reports which details the highlights of the conference and the latest developments. 



We run two blogs, for the general community and for developers:

The Software Sustainability Institute blog covers everything that we do at the Institute, the places we've been, the work we're doing and the people we've met. Guest blogs provide an alternative insight on other topics related to research software.

The AskSteve! blog is run by Steve Crouch, one of our software architects, and an all round software guru. You can email AskSteve! with all your software troubles and queries. Every couple of weeks, Steve will work on a problem and post his answer to the blog. You can comment, try out the solution or simply get back with another question.



Policy and research

Swallow.jpgThe Software Sustainability Institute engages in policy development and research in areas relating to software sustainability including:

  • Software engineering skills and training for researchers
  • Software developer career paths in academia
  • Software preservation and curation
  • Software citation, reuse and credit
  • Funding models

Examples of our work include a study of software preservation and sustainability (with Curtis+Cartwright), and the Journal of Open Research Software (with Ubiquity Press)


Events and training


The Collaborations Workshop is our flagship, two-day workshop that brings together researchers and developers to share information, network, solve problems and start new collaborations. It's a completely flexible workshop in which delegates control what they talk about and what they work on.

Software Sustainability Surgeries take our experts into the community, offering researchers the chance to learn more about software sustainability in person, and chat directly with one of our experts.

Software  Carpentry bootcamps teach scientists how to build the software they need for their research in an efficient, systematic way, maximising the impact of their research. They consist of two-day workshops followed by four-to-eight weeks of self-paced online learning.

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