Software and research: the Institute's Blog

Latest version published on 22 March, 2018.

38523074811_210bcc3ed4_z.jpgBy Christopher Brown, Senior co-design manager, Jisc, Neil Chue Hong, Director, The Software Sustainability Institute, and Mike Jackson, Software Architect, The Software Sustainability Institute

On the 7th March, Jisc and the Software Sustainability Institute ran a Software Deposit and Preservation Policy and Planning Workshop at Jisc’s Brettenham House in London. This is part of an activity, funded by Jisc, to provide software deposit and preservation guidance, in particular to develop use cases and workflows for software deposit via Jisc's Research Data Shared Service (RDSS).

Our 17 attendees were members of Jisc's RDSS pilot institutions, research data managers and research software engineers—all sharing an interest in the archiving and preservation of research software.

Chris gave an introduction to the RDSS and Neil introduced the Institute's activity on software deposit. Mike presented workflows for software deposit, derived from current implementations including the Figshare-GitHub integration, the…

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Latest version published on 21 March, 2018.

PYcon1.pngBy Nikoleta Glynatsi, Cardiff University, Geraint Palmer, Cardiff University, with introduction from Raniere Silva, Software Sustainability Institute.

The Software Sustainability Institute is very proud of the involvement of our Fellows Vincent Knight (2016), Nikoleta Glynatsi (2017) and Geraint Palmer (2018) with Cardiff University’s Phoenix Project and their contribution with PyCon Namibia. Introduce a new programming language to a research community is a lot of work and involve many cultural change barriers. To know more about their experience in Namibia, attend Collaborations Workshop 2018. For now, Nikoleta and Geraint have a sneak peak for you of their experience this year in Africa first published at Nikoleta’s blog.

This is a joint blog post with Geraint Palmer about our experiences of PyCon Namibia (PyConNA) 2018, which was the 4th consecutive Python conference held in the country. The conference took place in Windhoek, from the 20th to the 22nd of February. Supported by Cardiff University’s Phoenix…

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Latest version published on 15 March, 2018.

14811288593_0e03f2c604_z.jpgBy Raniere Silva, Software Sustainability Institute.

The clock is ticking away, and if you haven’t registered for Collaborations Workshop 2018 (CW18) yet, this is your last chance!

If you’ve already signed up for the event, we have some suggestions for you to maximise your chances of building new collaborations during the workshop.

Lightning talks

At the beginning of the first and second days of CW18, we have scheduled some lightning talks. This is a great opportunity to invite fellow attendees to approach you to talk about a project you are considering or are already developing. If you wish, you can use one slide to assist you. To find out more, visit the submission page. We only have a limited number of slots, and they’re available on an first come, first served base.


We have some short walks around Cardiff planned as part of CW18. Attendees of previous years reported having a fun time during those walks and we recommend that you take part on it. All the walks are listed on the social programme page which includes the link for registrations.

Chargers, Cables and Dongles

For the…

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Latest version published on 14 March, 2018.

34665071964_79a52d2bba_z.jpgBy Ana Todorović, Oxford University

In September 2017, we started the school year at Oxford with a day of talks on robust research practices. Originally envisioned as a satellite meeting of the Autumn School in Cognitive Neuroscience, it ended up spilling over into the Autumn School as well, which meant that incoming masters students got their official welcome to the programme in the form of four lectures on scientific reproducibility.

The Oxford Reproducibility School was spurred into action by Kia Nobre, head of the Experimental Psychology department, and was organized by Dorothy Bishop, Ana Todorovic, Caroline Nettekoven and Verena Heise. And although their primary areas are psychology and cognitive neuroscience, the Oxford Reproducibility School was aimed at discussing problems in empirical science in general, as well as best research practices. 

We had talks that outlined the root causes of the reproducibility crisis. Talks that discussed novel statistical approaches. Talks that covered combined academic and industry practices in pharmaceutical research. Talks about efficient computing, shared analysis pipelines, data storage and ethical practices when uploading that brain scan to an online repository. Talks that covered teaching undergraduates the right way instead of having them unlearn what they first encountered in their statistics courses. Talks about preregistration, and conversely talks about exploratory…

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Latest version published on 14 March, 2018.

4982558043_06968b80f1_z.jpgBy Olivier Philippe, Policy Researcher.


Last year, the Software Sustainability Institute conducted a survey of Research Software Engineers (RSEs) to learn more about them and their work conditions. The RSE community has grown from a concept born at an Institute event to an international phenomenon. It's important to learn more about this community so that our campaigning, and that of our international partners, continues to help RSEs gain the recognition they deserve for their huge contribution to research.

We began surveying RSEs in 2016, in 2017 we also surveyed Canadian RSEs and last year we added four further countries. Our thanks to our partners: Scott Henwood (Canada), Stephan Janosch and Martin Hammitzsch (Germany), Ben van Werkhoven and Tom Bakker (Netherlands), Anelda van der Walt (South Africa) and Daniel S. Katz and Sandra Gesing (USA).

Visit our RSE survey page for an overview of the results and access to the data and analysis.