Software and research: the Institute's Blog

Latest version published on 13 June, 2018.


By Alexander Morley, DPhil in Neuroscience, University of Oxford, and Yo Yehudi, InterMine, University of Cambridge.

For the last five years, Mozilla has run a Global Sprint, a worldwide distributed event where people gather to work collaboratively on open projects. The sprint is fantastic opportunity for open activists to help others, with demo calls that allow people to share their own projects, glean new contributors and amplify awareness of the issues they’re trying to address.

While you can participate from anywhere around the globe, there are also hosted sites where people can come together in person. 2018 fellows Alex Morley and Yo Yehudi both brought projects to this year's sprint, attending a physical site hosted in the Mozilla London offices on the 10th & 11th May 2018.

Code of Conduct Builder, Alex’s project, is a project that aims to help people build effective codes of conduct for their…

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Latest version published on 12 June, 2018.

28038447138_47c0a422f8_z.jpgBy Scott Henwood, Director of Research Software at CANARIE.

This post was first published in the CANARIE blog.

My previous blog posts have focused on the research software landscape in Canada, but the challenges and opportunities we face are not different from those in other parts of the world. In this post, I provide a brief overview of three international organisations that CANARIE works with as part of our Research Software program. These organisations are very different in their structure and approach to excellence in research software, but as you’ll see, they are all trying to solve common problems.

The UK Software Sustainability Institute (SSI)

Recognising that seven out of ten UK researchers say that their research would be impossible without software, the UK’s SSI was formed in 2010 to provide a national facility to enable the development and sustainability of better research software. The SSI has become an international leader in software for research and, along with their work on software sustainability (long-term availability, improvement and support), they also support initiatives in the following areas:

  • Skills and Training…
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Latest version published on 8 June, 2018.

Amsterdam.jpgBy Martin Donnelly, University of Edinburgh.

Late last month, I took a day trip to the Netherlands to attend an event at TU Delft entitled “Towards cultural change in data management – data stewardship in practice”. My Software Sustainability Institute Fellowship application “pitch” last year had been based around building bridges and sharing strategies and lessons between advocacy approaches for data and software management, and encouraging more holistic approaches to managing (and simply thinking about) research outputs in general. When I signed up for the event I expected it to focus exclusively on research data, but upon arrival at the venue (after a distressingly early start, and a power-walk from the train station along the canal) I was pleasantly surprised to find that one of the post-lunch breakout sessions was on the topic of software reproducibility, so I quickly signed up for that one.

I made it in to the main auditorium just in time to hear TU Delft’s Head of Research Data Services, Alastair Dunning, welcome us to the event. Alastair is a well-known face in the UK, hailing originally from Scotland and having worked at Jisc prior to his move across the North Sea. He noted the difference between managed and Open research data, a distinction that translates to research software too, and noted the risk of geographic imbalance between countries which are able to leverage openness to their advantage while simultaneously coping…

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Latest version published on 4 June, 2018.

3362772863_55b9809c4c_z.jpgBy Jeremy Cohen, Imperial College London (editor). See Contributors section at the end of the report for full list of contributors

The Collaborations Workshop 2018, run by the Software Sustainability Institute, provided a great opportunity for a wide range of people involved in software development or management within a research environment to come together and discuss a variety of current community issues. As part of the event, a series of mini-workshop sessions were held and this short report provides an overview of the session on building effective, sustainable research software communities.

Research software groups and communities are springing up at institutions around the UK and internationally. They offer the potential for software developers working in a research environment to meet their peers, find new collaboration opportunities, learn new skills and produce better software. This report has been produced collaboratively and summarises the discussion during the session. The raw content for this report was added interactively to a shared document by the attendees during the discussion. All session attendees are therefore credited as contributors.

RSE Groups and Communities

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Latest version published on 1 June, 2018.

The RSE conference committee are looking for volunteers to help us run the RSE 18 Conference on the 3-4 September. You should be friendly and outgoing to help us with a variety of activities for our conference participants including:

  • Welcoming and registering participants
  • Assisting in workshops and talks
  • Social media amplification
  • Being the first point of call for participants

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