Raniere Silva

GUADECBy Raniere Silva, Software Sustainability Institute, David Pérez-Suárez, University College London.

Last year Raniere found out that the GNOME User and Developer European Conference (GUADEC) 2017 would be hosted in Manchester and that he should attend. Early this year, during Science Together, Raniere mentioned GUADEC to David Pérez-Suárez and we agreed to show up at the conference to find out what we could learn from GNOME about onboarding newcomers and best software development practices.

Onboarding Newcomers


All open source projects struggle with onboarding newcomers. And, most of the time, driving yourself to the first contribution is a journey that will have old source code, out-of-date documentation, undocumented culture and other rocks on the way. Thankfully, many contributors to open source are working collaboratively with other…

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Fellowship Programme 2018By Raniere Silva, Software Sustainability Institute.

Applications for the Software Sustainability Institute Fellowship Programme 2018 close on Monday, 9th October 2017 at 23:59 BST.

Joining the Software Sustainability Institute Fellow community means much more than just receiving funding to attend or organise conferences, workshops and other events. Some of our Fellows have said that it is  "a great way to collaborate across disciplines", "a really worthwhile experience that I cannot recommend more" and "a great opportunity to meet friendly new people", among other positive comments.

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Open Science, that is, the trio of open access, open data, and open methods, is not a new concept in the scientific world. Despite the fact that Budapest Open Access Initiative is more than 15 years old and the level of openness among researchers rises continually, there is still a long way before open science becomes so ubiquitous we simply call it “science”.

A significant step for humanities, a discipline not commonly associated with rigorous scientific methods, is the creation of the Open Science Interest Group (OSIG) within the largest archaeological community of the Society for American Archaeology. In the recently published manifesto, Ben Marwick, the group creator, argues that an adoption of practices preached by the open science movement can significantly benefit individual scholars as well as the discipline as a whole. At first, the Interest Group will focus on "incentivizing open practices by issuing Center for Open Science (COS) badges for Open Data and Open Materials for display on qualifying posters and slide presentations at the SAA Annual Meeting and other professional venue" and "conduct workshops using Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry pedagogy and materials".

Archaeologists interested in supporting the Society for American Archaeology Open Science Interest Group are welcome to subscribe to…

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Launch webinarBy Raniere Silva, Community Officer

On 15th September 2017, we ran the Fellowship Programme 2018 Launch Webinar—an opportunity for those interested in our Fellowship Programme to ask their questions and have a immediate answer. This time, we had the opportunity to listen to Nikoleta Glynatsi, Gary Leeming, David Perez-Suarez, Iza A. Romanowska and Melody Sandells talking about their experience as Institute Fellows. Below you will find highlights of each one of the presentations.

Melody Sandells

She defined the Fellowship as nothing less than "life changing" and "the best thing she’s ever done". Melody encouraged people to apply even if the term "sustainable software" is a bit alien for them because this was her case before applying. As she said, after reading a few pages on the website you might discover that some of the things that you already care about fall  under the Institute’s "sustainable software" umbrella. Melody also described the…

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On this page, we've provided more information about the Fellowship and how it works.


All questions and suggestions should be sent to the Fellows Management email address.


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

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

The word Fellow or Fellows will refer to a single Fellow, or all Fellows, in the 2018 Fellowship intake, unless otherwise qualified.

The responsibilities of a Fellow

Fellows have the following areas of responsibility:


  1. Prepare blog posts about events attended where attendance has been supported by the Institute’s funds.

  2. Promote the Software Sustainability Institute and its work where appropriate.

  3. Attend a Fellows inaugural meeting in early 2018.

  4. Attend the annual Software Sustainability Institute's Collaborations Workshop on March 26-27 2018 (with an optional attendance on 28 March for a Hackday).

  5. Deliver the plans described in your fellowship application (and make the Institute aware of any substantive changes to your plans).

  6. Provide feedback and ideas to help the Institute and the Fellowship programme.

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puzzleBy Yihui Xie. With an introduction by Raniere Silva, Software Sustainability Institute.

Here at the Institute, we talk a lot about best practices when developing software but we rarely talk about best practices for issue/bug reports. Probably one of the most important best practices to follow when reporting an issue/bug is to provide minimal example. Yihui Xie, author of various R packages, wrote the blog post "The Minimal Reproducible Example Paradox" on his blog, which is a reflection of the importance of users dedicate some time to develop a minimal example. With Yihui's permission, we’ve reproduced his post below.

You can access the original post at Yihui Xie's blog.

How many times have I reminded a user of posting a minimal, self-contained, and reproducible example (reprex)? Probably 500 times. How many times do I think I will still need to remind users of this? Perhaps 5000 times.

I think there is a paradox, and there isn’t a clever solution. The paradox is that we software developers know much more about our own software than average users (especially beginners), and we naturally anticipate a reprex, but users are in the dark, not knowing what information to…

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We would like to thank all of our sponsors for their kind and generous support.

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Fellowship Programme 2018By Raniere Silva, Community Officer, Software Sustainability Institute.

Register for the Fellowship Programme Launch Webinar on Friday 15 September from 2.00pm to 3.30pm BST. Raniere Silva, our Community Officer, will talk about the programme, the application process, and some of our Fellows will share their experiences. Whether you’re planning on submitting an application or you want further information about the programme, our webinar is the perfect platform to learn more and ask questions about the Fellowship.

This year, sorted by last name, Nikoleta Glynatsi, Gary Leeming, David Perez-Suarez, Iza A. Romanowska and Melody Sandells will join us on the webinar to talk about their experience as Institute fellows. Their background is in operational research, health informatics, astronomy, archaeological sciences and Earth system sciences, which will provide our attendees with a broad but not limited view of the research areas that can benefit from better software or coding practices. Applications from all research areas…

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Watch the webinar recording

The webinar ran on Friday, 15 September from 2.00pm to 3.30pm BST. A recording is available on YouTube.


2:00pm - Welcome (Raniere Silva) (Slides, Video)
2:05pm - Introduction to the Institute (Raniere Silva) (Slides, Video)
2:10pm - Introduction to the Fellowship Programme (Raniere Silva) (Slides, Video)
2:20pm - Melody Sandells (Slides, Video)
2:30pm - Gary Leeming (No slides, Video)
2:40pm - Iza A. Romanowska (Slides, Video)
2:50pm - Nikoleta Glynatsi (Slides…

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Applications for the Software Sustainability Institute Fellowship Programme 2018 are now open.

The main goals of the Programme are gathering intelligence about research and software from all disciplines, encouraging Fellows to develop their interests in the area of software sustainability (especially in their areas of work) and aiding the Fellows as ambassadors of good software practice in their domains. The programme also supports capacity building and policy development initiatives.

For further information, please visit the Fellowship Programme page and the FAQ, which include details about eligibility.

On 15th September, we will host a webinar where you will be able to find out more about the programme, the application process, existing Fellows experiences and have your questions answered. The webinar will run from from 2.00pm to 3.30pm BST. If you are interested in participate in the webinar please register your interest.

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