Sustainable research software requires RSE recognition

Posted by g.law on 1 May 2020 - 8:43am
group photo
Workshop participants
Photo by Carina Jahnke / RKI

Sustainable research software can only become a reality if the academic system finally starts to acknowledge the people that develop and maintain it: RSEs, says a newly published paper describing the state of the art of research software sustainability in Germany and beyond.

The paper, titled "An environment for sustainable research software in Germany and beyond: current state, open challenges, and call for action", has been published on F1000 Research and is now awaiting peer review.

The research for the paper involved a tremendous amount of collaboration between projects funded under the call "Research Software Sustainability" issued by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), says Stephan Druskat, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. 

Work on the paper started at the deRSE19, the 2019 German RSE conference, and continued during a DFG-funded workshop at the Robert Koch Institut. The paper has also been accepted as an official position of German de-RSE - Society for Research Software, meaning it has undergone wide discussion and editing within the German RSE community, and aims to represent its positions.

“The most important of those is that sustainable research software can only become a reality if the academic system finally starts to acknowledge the people that develop and maintain it: Research Software Engineers.” says Druskat. 

“We need research software developers and maintainers, and software-developing researchers, who are incentivised and can benefit from their work, whose work is acknowledged as being central to research, who receive suitable training in all aspects of their work, whose impact can be measured and used to build careers - and who can get the infrastructure, legal and licensing support they need to do their work,” he says.

“We need to work together towards a better environment for sustainable research software, so that research can keep getting better!” says Druskat.