Complete the international RSE survey and help us understand the RSE community

Posted by j.laird on 22 November 2021 - 12:42pm
We hear you
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

By Simon Hettrick, SSI Deputy Director.

Keeping up with the phenomenal growth of the Research Software Engineer (RSE) community is far from easy, so we run a survey every two to three years across all the national RSE associations and publish the results as an open, anonymised dataset. The survey provides insight into the community and how best to support it, so it is of incredible value to RSEs, policymakers and funders.

Take the survey

RSEs need to understand the community they work in. National associations, funders and other policymakers need to understand the RSE community if they are to support it. Please help us provide this data and support the RSE community by completing the survey.

You can complete the 2021 RSE survey in EnglishFrenchGerman or Spanish.

You don’t need to be called an RSE to complete the survey. Your formal job title does not matter - we want to hear from you if you develop software for academic research as part of your work. The survey provides considerable detail about the RSE role: a person’s route into the role, the type of work they conduct, their working practices, job satisfaction and demographics. This means it takes around 20 minutes to complete - we appreciate that this is a significant amount of your time to donate and we thank you for it! 

The survey closes on 14 January 2022

Understanding the RSE community

The last survey took place in 2018 and collected responses from 985 people from around the world. With all of the national associations reporting growth, and a number of new countries joining the community, we expect even more responses this year. This will provide an unrivalled overview of the RSE community.

You can view the results of the last survey, including a worldwide view of the data and breakdowns by country. Without the survey, we wouldn’t know that 19% of RSEs have a background in physics and astronomy, but almost 40% now work in biological sciences; that RSEs have 9 years of experience of software development on average; or that half of RSEs came into their current role from another position in a university (with 22% coming into the role from a job in industry). We also wouldn’t know important facts about the demographics of our community, such as the fact that 83% of RSEs identify as male. This information helps us understand whether our endeavours to improve the diversity of the community are succeeding.

We would like to thank everyone who helped construct the survey: Radovan Bast, Alex Botzki, Jeff Carver, Ian Cosden, Florencia D'Andrea, Abhishek Dasgupta, Alejandra Gonzalez-Beltran, Ulf Hamster, Scott Henwood, Simon Hettrick, Patric Holmvall, Stephan Janosch, Thibault Lestang, Nick May, Olivier Philippe, Johan Philips, Nooriyah Poonawala-Lohani, Paul Richmond, Manodeep Sinha, Florian Thiery, Ben van Werkhoven, Claire Wyatt and Qian Zhang.

The survey is being conducted with ethics approval from the University of Southampton (ERGO ethics application number: 65619). The first page of the survey tells you everything about the conduct of the survey, our approach to privacy and data protection, and your rights as a participant in the survey.

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