Software and research: the Institute's Blog

The challenges of running a workshop at a major conference (EGU General Assembly)

Latest version published on 8 July, 2019.

By Stuart Grieve, Software Sustainability Institute Fellow. In a previous post, I wrote about the process of and rationale for organising a workshop as part of a large international conference. To recap, as part of my Institute Fellowship, I, alongside colleagues ran a workshop in April at the EGU General Assembly in Vienna, the largest geoscience conference in Europe with over 16,000 attendees.

Organising a workshop at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly

Latest version published on 5 July, 2019.

By Stuart Grieve, Software Sustainability Institute Fellow Traditionally, geomorphologists have performed analysis of topographic data in an ad-hoc manner using commercially available GIS packages such as ArcGIS. Although many of the tools within these packages are useful for academic research, they are effectively black boxes, due to the closed source nature of the software and are typically controlled through a GUI. Open source variants such as WhiteboxGAT and QGIS, which provide methodological transparency, exist but do not resolve the challenges in documenting and sharing scientific…

What does training in software sustainability look like?

Latest version published on 4 July, 2019.

By Mario Antonioletti, Daina Bouquin, Daniel S. Katz, Lucia Michielin, Colin Sauze, and Lucy Whalley. This post is part of the CW19 speed blog posts series. In this blog post, we address the idea of training in software sustainability in the form of questions and answers.

How do you motivate researchers to adopt better software practices?

Latest version published on 30 July, 2019.

By Patrick McCann, Rachel Ainsworth, Jason M. Gates, Jakob S. Jørgensen, Diego Alonso-Álvarez, and Cerys Lewis. This post is part of the CW19 speed blog posts series. What are the challenges? For many researchers, the development of software is a means to an end—a chore that is necessary to allow them to get on with the real work of conducting research and publishing papers. They may not see themselves as programmers or recognise the code that they write as being software. Their supervisors or senior colleagues may not see the value of devoting perceived extra effort to following good…

Software Metadata Creation and Curation

Latest version published on 2 July, 2019.

By Emily Bell, Radu Gheorghiu, Patricia Herterich, Daniel Hobley, and Sarah Stewart, British Library This post is part of the CW19 speed blog posts series. All attendees of the Software Sustainability Institute Collaboration Workshop 2019 are users or developers of research software, but may not recognise that the production and use of research software demands effective curation and attention to the metadata. We spent a breakout session thinking about where the community is in terms of effective curation of software and its metadata, what the problems still are, and where we can see…

Reproducibility and Collaboration Challenges in interactive/exploratory research

Latest version published on 2 July, 2019.

By Adam Jackson, Dav Clarke, Becky Arnold, Ben Krikler, Joanna Leng. This post is part of the CW19 speed blog posts series. At the Software Sustainability Institute’s 2019 Collaborations Workshop, many discussions for the speed-blogging session focused on deposit of relatively fixed data and analysis code.

Best practices for creating training materials

Latest version published on 28 June, 2019.

By Niall Beard, Chris Greenshields, Sam Mangham, Louise Bowler, Mike Allaway, and Jess Ward. This blog post covers some of the important topics to consider when constructing training material. A definition given for the aim of training: “The Confidence to perform a task, repeatedly, to a defined standard in a timely manner.” -- Robin Hoyle, LearnWorks

See you at CarpentryConnect Manchester 2019!

Latest version published on 24 June, 2019.

CarpentryConnect Manchester 2019 (CCmcr19) will be held from 25th - 27th June 2019 at The Studio Manchester on 25th and 26th of June and in the Kilburn Building at the School of Computer Science (University of Manchester) on 27th June. Have a look at the programme for the event. 

What are best practices for research software documentation?

Latest version published on 21 June, 2019.

By Stephan Druskat, Tyler Whitehouse, Alessandro Felder, Sorrel Harriet, Benjamin Lee This post is part of the CW19 speed blog posts series. Good documentation is a fundamental aspect of research software. It influences how easy-to-use, extendable, and by extension how sustainable, a piece of software is. In this blog post, we are interested in addressing issues surrounding good documentation of research software and how they can be approached in a general sense, that may be applicable to a wide research software engineering audience.

Reproducibly producing data from workflows, pipelines and coupled models

Latest version published on 19 June, 2019.

By Sarah Gibson, Anna Krystalli, Arshad Emmambux, Alexandra Simperler, Tom Russell, and Doug Lowe Like history, reproducible data processing is just one, um, thing after another. When the number of tools, models or steps in a process grows beyond a handful, we start to feel the need for some automation or structure. Running the same sequence of tools over multiple data? Capturing the steps of an analysis for collaborators or students to repeat, modify and extend? Conducting a scenario analysis using coupled models? Workflow, pipeline and model coupling tools all respond to the need for…