Software and research: the Institute's Blog

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.

Latest version published on 9 March, 2018.

12176435415_61c14775c5_z.jpgBy Raniere Silva, Community Officer, Software Sustainability Institute.

With two weeks until the Collaborations Workshop 2018 (CW18) kicks off, we can't hold our excitement and need to tell you what’s waiting for you from Monday 26th to Wednesday 28th March 2018 at The School of Mathematics, Cardiff University.

At Collaborations Workshop 2018, you’ll find an amazing group composed of researchers, developers, innovators, managers, funders, publishers, leaders and educators. All of them play an important role in shaping the culture of our society and without them we would probably live in a very different world. Throughout the event, we will facilitate discussions about culture change, productivity, and sustainability within the this group.


As announced earlier on our website, we have Kirstie Whitaker and John Hammersley as keynotes on Monday 26 March. They will talk about the themes of this Collaborations Workshop: culture change and productivity. On the next day, we will have short talks from Adrian-Tudor Panescu, Daniel S. Katz, Naomi Penfold and Matthew Upson about software sustainability from different…

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Latest version published on 7 March, 2018.

1_LmBD9OaRAJPnBYBoZwyZMw.jpgBy the Netherlands eScience Center

This post was originally published at the NL eScience centre blog.

Research software has become an indispensable instrument for virtually every academic researcher. A case in point: survey data from the UK revealed that 92% of academics use research software, 69% say that their research would not be practical without it and 56% develop their own software. Creating, storing and analyzing data is crucial in researchers’ daily work and enables them to address increasingly challenging research questions.

This rapid digitization of research has strongly increased the number of people writing and contributing to research software. This is part of a more general trend, where positions like data stewardsinformation managers, research data officer, research supporter and other non-traditional research positions are becoming increasingly recognized as intrinsic positions in the academic research ecosystem. To increase the impact, recognition and visibility of research software in academia, we (ePlan and the Netherlands eScience Center) have taken the initiative to start and…

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Latest version published on 6 March, 2018.

By Jenny Molloy, University of Cambridge.

Introduction by Raniere Silva, Software Sustainability Institute.

Chris Anderson, in his book "Free: The Future of a Radical Price", explores the transformation on business imposed by the spread of cheap computation power and data transfer. This same factors changed how we do research. Pre-prints, data share, code share have more common than you’d think. Unfortunately, scientific hardware is still a barrier for many researchers who don't have access to the tools required for their investigation. We are very excited to share the “Gathering for Open Science Hardware's Roadmap”, originally published at, "for providing global access to scientific hardware by 2025 through open source designs, collaborative research and new manufacturing techniques, including 3D-printing."

The following text was first posted at the Gathering for…

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