Understanding how to choose a piece of software is difficult. What code should I bet my research on? Will the project producing the software grow or shrink? Is the code base stable or changing? Does the project depend on one organisation or many? Is the community healthy or hopelessly ill?
At the Software Sustainability Institute, we want to ensure that research software is sustainable. One of the ways we can do this is by measuring the general health of the community around the software and developing methodologies and tools for analysing modern software development. With this in place, we can improve the health of projects and make it easier to answer the questions above.
We are therefore delighted that the Software Sustainability Institute is a founding partner in the Community Health Analytics Open Source Software project (CHAOSS). CHAOSS is a new Linux Foundation project focused on creating the analytics and metrics to help define community health that was officially launched this week.
The aims of the project are to:
- Establish standard implementation-agnostic metrics for measuring software community activity, contributions, and health, which are objective and repeatable.
- Produce integrated open source software for analyzing software community development.
Other members contributing to the project include Bitergia, Eclipse Foundation, Jono Bacon Consulting, Laval University (Canada), Linaro, Mozilla, OpenStack, Polytechnique Montreal (Canada) Red Hat, Sauce Labs, Symphony Software Foundation, University of Missouri, University of Mons (Belgium), University of Nebraska at Omaha, and University of Victoria.
Our contributions are based on work and experience from a Software Assessment Framework pilot which seeks to measure different characteristics of research software. By joining the CHAOSS project, we will be working with some of the leading tool developers and researchers in this area, as well as developing a measurement framework which has wide industry and academic support.
Our specific task will be to choose and develop metrics suitable for assessing research software and support their implementation in the open source tools frameworks.
If you are interested in helping, please join the CHAOSS community!