CW13 Suggestions and recommendations

One of the outcomes of the Collaborations Workshop 2013 were various suggestions and recommendations made during the Breakout sessions. We collected and listed them on this page in order to enable further discussions and inspire further ideas. 


Status boards for labs.

  • Each lab/group will need to start with some example of status boards for labs for people to be able to build off of these.


What is the best way to ensure all researchers can progress with their computing research?

  • Turning up at seminars and getting to know researchers.
  • Provide small amounts of expert consultancy (embedded developers), for example 10% of full time education (3 months).  Identify the person who is interested and will engage.
  • New centres for doctoral training should offer help and hopefully PhD cohort will have a better understanding of these problems.
  • Giving case studies and make sure that people publish case studies of alternative practice (for example, on a blog).


The role and career of the Research Software Developer. 

  • For research councils should look into rates for research software developers. Are they paid as post-docs or by industry standards?


How do the Research Councils fund software and what could they do in the future? 

  • Find exemplars of good pathways to impact funding.


How can we make scientific software easier to find, re-use and sustain?

  • Suggest research councils provide guidelines (or, more strongly, conditions) on sustainability and quality control for software developed using their grants to encourage best practices.
  • Establish cataloguing and taxonomy standards, including register(s) of scientific software.  


How do we measure the impact of the work we do? 

  • Build "phone home" into your software so you can track its usage. 


What role do researchers feel central facilities can play in assisting software sustainability?

  • Researchers:
    1) to try to discover and use central facilities where they exist (e.g. CCPForge);
    2) to take seriously the responsibility to give good feedback, to promote to other users and to take an active role in community;
    3) to cite the facilities that you have used in your papers;
    4) when a tool saves you time, tell the tool owners so they can build cases for funding.  
  • Developers of central facilities:
    1) to listen to users, actively research user experience (UX), take community-building  seriously, provide social features;
    2) promote your facilities and publish details of them so researchers can cite (for example, in Journal of Open Source Software)
    3) take your responsibility to provide permanent URLs for software that people upload
    4) survey your users for impact to build cases for funding. 
  • Funders of central facilities:
    1) to provide specific funding for UX and for community development;
    2) to ensure you have the senior-level expertise to ensure you aren't just rebuilding existing facilities from the open source or commercial software world.
  • The Software Sustainability Institute:
    1) to lobby research councils for the development of expertise at senior levels;
    2) to research the economics of the Open Source Software world and the research world;
    3) to help research councils where centralised facilities are appropriate and what is needed, and to provide real money for promoting them.


What are the pragmatic things which will help us achieve reproducibility and reusability of software, models and data? 

  • Teach people that "good programmers don't like writing code".
  • Consider using CCPForge as case study for SoftwareHub project on user interaction with scientific software repository.

Models for credit used to acknowledge the value of software in research. How does one get credit for this work?

  • Approach funders and policy makers (including the Department of Business and Innovation Skills) and lobby to better recognise software development and developers.