Participant information - Study to find the size of the research software community - part 2

Study Title: Study to find the size of the research community.

Researcher: Simon Hettrick

Ethics number: ERGO/FPSE/12521

Please read this information carefully before deciding to take part in this research. If you are happy to participate your consent will be implied by completing the survey.

What is the research about?

Very little information has been collected about researchers' use of software. The lack of this information, makes it is difficult to provide the correct resources and training for researchers.

In this study we will ask a small number of questions about a researcher's use of software. We will extrapolate the results from the survey group to understand the size of the research community, the software that is most popular in research and the level of training that researchers have received. We will make this information freely available to funders, universities and other appropriate research stakeholders.

If you are interested in why we are conducting this survey, you can read out blog posts on the subject. The first provides the reasons why we are conducting the research and the second provides updates and discusses the use of random emailing.

Why have I been chosen?

Participants for this survey were chosen from two groups: postdoctoral students at the University of Southampton and randomly selected researchers from the universities of Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Newcastle and UCL. The first group were chosen to provide a focussed study on the postdoctoral students and the second group were chosen to represent the research community.

What will happen to me if I take part?

If you choose to take part, you need to complete a six-minute survey on your use of software in research. The results of this survey will be anonymised and used to draw conclusions on the use of software in research within the UK. The anonymised results and all processing of those results will be made available online to ensure transparency of the research and its methods.

If you choose to provide an email address in the survey, the results of the study will be sent to you once the study is complete.

Are there any benefits in my taking part?

By taking part, you will ensure that the research community is considerably better briefed on the community's reliance on software. This will help the research community provide adequate resources and training for researchers.

Are there any risks involved?

The survey focusses on questions about software and some demographic information. It does not ask for any information that could compromise the participants or their work.

Will my participation be confidential?

The data from this survey will be held in accordance with the Data Protection Act and University of Southampton policy on secure data storage. Aside from a non-mandatory email address, the survey does not ask for identifying data from the participant. Despite this fact, the survey results will be vetted to remove any information that could accidentally identify the participant. The anonymous data set which will be made available online for research purposes.

What happens if I change my mind?

If you change your mind, you can request that your results are removed from the data set by contacting the study's author, Simon Hettrick. To remove your data, you will have to provide sufficient evidence to identify your response in the study (such as your email address).

What happens if something goes wrong?

In the unlikely case of concern or complaint, you can contact the Chair of the Ethics Committee at the University of Southampton: Lester Gilbert, 02380593831.

Where can I get more information?

More information about the study, or questions about it, can be directed to the study's author: Simon Hettrick.