The management, development and curation of robust software are key to research. That is the conclusion of a recent national consultation, undertaken by EPSRC, which gathered researchers’ views of the facilities and services required to conduct high quality research. The creation of the UK’s Software Sustainability Institute (SSI) will fulfil a vital role by co-ordinating how we sustain important research software and make it available for future use.
There is currently no long-term strategy for preserving software tools developed by research projects. Software is often abandoned when a project ends or only maintained on a best effort basis. The goal of the SSI is not simply to make software available, but to make it useful by improving quality, usability and maintenance.
The sustainability of research software requires partnership. Only through close collaboration between software developers and researchers can advances be made both in software development and domain sciences. The SSI will work with the research communities to manage software beyond the lifetime of its original funding, so that it is strengthened, adapted and customised to maximise its value to future generations.
So how will this be achieved? The remit of the SSI is to collaborate with researchers to assist them in building self-sustaining communities around important software. Critically, this enables the development and evolution of the code to be carried out within the environment of the people who use… Continue Reading