Software and Skills for Large Scale Computing - Participant Information Sheet - Focus Groups

Study Title: Software Skills for Large Scale Computing: collective evidence to develop a National Research Software Strategy  


Researchers: Prof Simon Hettrick, Dr Rebecca Taylor, Dr Anthony Quinn 

ERGO number: 71904                 


You are being invited to take part in the above research study. To help you decide whether you would like to take part or not, it is important that you understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please read the information below carefully, and ask questions if anything is not clear or you would like more information before you decide to take part in this research. You may like to discuss it with others but it is up to you to decide whether or not to take part. If you are happy to participate you will be asked to sign a consent form. 


What is the research about? 

Our research study will explore software and roles and skills that are required to support large-scale research computing. Through research with early career researchers, established researchers and research software engineers, we will seek to identify immediate needs and barriers within different research communities as well as relevant funding and policies that are currently in place.  


Why have I been asked to participate? 

You have been asked to participate in this research because you are either an early career researcher, an established researcher, a research software engineer or someone with a specific knowledge of large scale computing. We are interested in understanding your role(s), skills(s) and thoughts as well as the software that you use or wish to use as part of your work. 


What will happen to me if I take part? 

We will hold an online focus group session that will last between 60 minutes and 90 minutes. There will be 4 or 5 other participants taking part in the same session as you. You will be asked to talk about your role, your experience of research and software, your skills and the available infrastructure and support for what you do and to discus and compare experiences with other participants in the group. We will seek to organise our groups as much as possible on the basis of demographic variables such as age, gender, ethnicity. The focus group session will be audio recorded.  


Are there any benefits in my taking part? 

We need to understand more about the software, roles and skills required for large scale research computing. By gathering this important knowledge, we hope to develop a sustainable and accessible research infrastructure across disciplines and relevant communities. Your contribution will be beneficial in enabling us to develop a more resilient software infrastructure that is fit for purpose. As a token of our gratitude, we will be able to provide you with a shopping voucher for £50 GBP after your participation in a focus group. 


Are there any risks involved? 

There are no risks involved in participation.  


What data will be collected? 

At the start of the focus group you will be individually asked if it is ok for the researcher to begin recording. Once the recording has started you will be asked to state your name and your consent to participate, in accordance with each item on the consent form (this has also been sent to you). The information that you provide within the focus group will be transcribed and then pseudonymised so that it does not include any identifiable information. The audio recording will be destroyed once the transcription process has been completed. This information will then be stored within a password protected folder on the University of Edinburgh Sharepoint and it will be backed up on the secure University of Southampton server.  


Will my participation be confidential? 

Your participation and the information that we collect about you during the course of the research be kept strictly confidential. Only members of the research team at the University of Southampton and the University of Edinburgh, or responsible members of either institution, will be given access to data about you for research analysis, monitoring purposes and/ or to carry out an audit of the study to ensure the research is complying with applicable regulations. Individuals from regulatory authorities (people who check that we are carrying out the study correctly) may require access to your data. All of these people have a duty to keep your information, as a research participant, strictly confidential.  


Although we will know who participated, no-one will be identifiable within the findings of the research. It will not be possible after the transcription of focus group manuscripts to identify the real name of the participant who is speaking. Other researchers within the study team may be given access to the transcript but not the original recordings. The informed consent that you provide at the start of the focus group will be pseudonymised and stored within a password protected file. 


At the start of the focus group, participants will be asked not to discuss any aspect of the session after it has been completed and to consent to this as part of the consent process.  


Do I have to take part? 

No; it is entirely up to you to decide whether or not you take part. If you decide that you want to voluntarily take part then you will need to verbally agree to the attached consent form to show that you consent to participate. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions in relation to this participant information sheet or the attached consent form.  


What happens if I change my mind? 

You have the right to change your mind and withdraw at any time, prior to completion of the study or publication of findings (whichever comes first); likely to be July 2022. This is because it will not be possible to identify and retract your data after this point. If you do decide to withdraw your participation then this can be done by contacting a member of the research team without a reason, without penalty and without your participant rights being affected.  


What will happen to the results of the research? 

Your personal details will remain strictly confidential. Research findings may be made available in reports or publication however these will not include any identifiable information. The results of this study will be presented to the funder (EPSRC), will form the basis of a National Research Software Strategy and may be written up for conference or journal publication.  


Where can I get more information? 

You are most welcome to email the Principal Investigator for this study at:  


What happens if there is a problem? 

If you have a concern or query about any aspect of this study, you should speak to the researchers on this study who will do their best to answer your questions. 

If you remain unhappy or have a complaint about any aspect of this study, please contact the University of Southampton Research Integrity and Governance Manager (02380595058,  


Data Protection Privacy Notice 

The University of Southampton conducts research to the highest standards of research integrity. As a publicly-funded organisation, the University has to ensure that it is in the public interest when we use personally-identifiable information about people who have agreed to take part in research.  This means that when you agree to take part in a research study, we will use information about you in the ways needed, and for the purposes specified, to conduct and complete the research project. Under data protection law, ‘Personal data’ means any information that relates to and is capable of identifying a living individual. The University’s data protection policy governing the use of personal data by the University can be found on its website (  


This Participant Information Sheet tells you what data will be collected for this project and whether this includes any personal data. Please ask the research team if you have any questions or are unclear what data is being collected about you.  


Our privacy notice for research participants provides more information on how the University of Southampton collects and uses your personal data when you take part in one of our research projects and can be found at  


Any personal data we collect in this study will be used only for the purposes of carrying out our research and will be handled according to the University’s policies in line with data protection law. If any personal data is used from which you can be identified directly, it will not be disclosed to anyone else without your consent unless the University of Southampton is required by law to disclose it.  


Data protection law requires us to have a valid legal reason (‘lawful basis’) to process and use your Personal data. The lawful basis for processing personal information in this research study is for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest. Personal data collected for research will not be used for any other purpose. 


For the purposes of data protection law, the University of Southampton is the ‘Data Controller’ for this study, which means that we are responsible for looking after your information and using it properly. The University of Southampton will keep identifiable information about you for 10 years after the study has finished after which time any link between you and your information will be removed. 


To safeguard your rights, we will use the minimum personal data necessary to achieve our research study objectives. Your data protection rights – such as to access, change, or transfer such information - may be limited, however, in order for the research output to be reliable and accurate. The University will not do anything with your personal data that you would not reasonably expect.  


If you have any questions about how your personal data is used, or wish to exercise any of your rights, please consult the University’s data protection webpage ( where you can make a request using our online form. If you need further assistance, please contact the University’s Data Protection Officer ( 


Data will be pseudonymised - it will only be possible to tell from the transcript that a person was speaking but not whom.  Individuals will not be re-identifiable. 


Thank you. 

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