Software and research: the Institute's Blog

Some software should be sustained, and some shouldn’t. But how can we choose, what is the cost of sustaining it, and what is the cost of letting it pass away?

Latest version published on 13 December, 2018.

By Andrew Edmondson​​​​​​​, Mike Zentner, and Cristian A. Marocico. We’re writing this blog from the perspective of people who are responsible for helping researchers in our institutions develop their own software for their own research purposes. We want to help our communities to make the right decisions about the sustainability of their software – and therefore about their time and money.

Tech Writing 101 at Collaborations Workshop 2019

Latest version published on 13 December, 2018.

By Raniere Silva, Community Officer, Software Sustainability Institute. We are delighted to announce that Sarah Maddox and Sharif Salah will be running a session called "Tech Writing 101" at the Collaborations Workshop 2019.

What it’s like to be a Fellow if your background is in humanities

Latest version published on 12 December, 2018.

By Iza Romanowska, Barcelona Supercomputing Center. If someone told me five years ago that I would be a Fellow of any organisation with the word ‘software’ in it, I’d just laugh. Yet, it turns out being a diehard humanities person does not save you from the academic inevitability of engaging with research software.

Checklist for a Software Management Plan 1.0 released

Latest version published on 11 December, 2018.

By Mike Jackson, Research Software Engineer. When developing research software, we need to know what we are going to write, who it is for (even if this is just us), how we will get it to them, how it will help them, and how we will evaluate whether it has helped them. A Software Management Plan (SMP) can help us think about these and decide upon the processes we will use when developing our software. To help write SMPs, we have now published version 1.0 of our Checklist for a Software Management Plan.

Applications to the Software Sustainability Institute Fellowship Programme 2019 are now open

Latest version published on 11 December, 2018.

By Raniere Silva, Community Officer, Software Sustainability Institute. We are pleased to announce applications to our Fellowship Programme 2019 are now open. Deadline is 3 February, 2019. Below we detail the application process and what to expect from us during the recruitment and post-recruitment stages.

Interact to Interoperate

Latest version published on 6 December, 2018.

By Alejandra Gonzalez-Beltran, Software Sustainability Institute Fellow. This year I was invited to attend the Interoperability of Metadata Standards in Cross Domain Science Health and Social Science Applications workshop, which was held at the beginning of October 2018 in the Schloss Dagstuhl, Leibniz Center for Informatics, in Wadern, Germany.

Using Agile methods in Scientific Software Development

Latest version published on 6 December, 2018.

By Jeremy Cohen, Niels Drost, Vahid Garousi, Dafne van Kuppevelt, Reed Milewicz, Ben van Werkhoven, and Lasse Wollatz. Software plays an increasingly important role in all aspects of the modern scientific enterprise. The practice of developing scientific software, however, is still young and uncultivated compared to more traditional methods and instruments.

Sustainable Domain-Specific Training

Latest version published on 5 December, 2018.

By Ben Companjen, Nicky Nicolson, Marcin Wolski, Graeme Andrew Stewart, and Anastasis Georgoulas. As more research fields develop some computational aspects, teaching good software practices and development becomes essential across the scientific spectrum. With the exception of some disciplines with a strong computing tradition, students and staff in most other areas have to adopt generic materials, which are quite often limited in scope or make unrealistic assumptions about the background of their audience.

Training and Collaboration

Latest version published on 5 December, 2018.

By Raniere Silva, Software Sustainability Institute, and Aleksandra Nenadic, Software Sustainability Institute. Educational psychology provides us with great findings about the process of human learning that can help educators provide more effective training to learners. Because their curriculum is sometimes full, many researchers, developers and publishers don't know about those findings when they start their careers as educators, just like researchers might be unfamiliar with best software developer practices because they weren't taught them.

Abandon hope, we are archiving things we can’t use: considerations for documenting complex objects

Latest version published on 4 December, 2018.

By Daina Bouquin, Christopher Ball, Anna-Lena Lamprecht, Catherine Jones, Tyler J. Skluzacek. Containers, virtual machines, Jupyter notebooks, web applications, and data visualisations that run in a browser are all examples of complex digital objects made up of multiple components. Each of those components may have unique dependencies (hardware, software, external datasets, etc.) and different “authors”.  Each component will also have different expected functionalities and may even have different licenses.