This week's Economist features an article on academic "spaghetti code" which notes the Software Sustainability Institute's goal of "encouraging British academics to code sensibly".

SOME programmers call it “spaghetti code”. Though error-strewn, it works—most of the time. It is likely to have been written in an out-of-date language, possibly more than one of them. It has grown by accretion, as different graduate students and postdocs, many long since departed to other institutions, have tweaked it, fixed it and patched it. And it is, of course, unannotated, so nobody really knows what is going on inside it.

The article notes Neil Chue Hong's vital role as Principal Investigator, and we would like to add our thanks to all of the Institute's staff - and the four founding universities - for making the Institute so successful that it's now being picked up by mainstream newspapers!

Read the article in the Economist.

The way in which academic papers are published makes much research unfindable, while scholars’ lack of transparency about their research methods renders many of their conclusions highly questionable.

This is the view of Carole Goble, one of the Institute's Co-Investigators, which she expressed at the Jisc Digital Festival 2015 and subsequently discussed with Chris Parr from Times Higher Education. This led to an excellent article in which Carole discusses her views on researchers' practices that result in the burying of data and research.

You can read the article on the THE website or listen to the interview with Carole on THE podcast.

Whilst attending the Research Bazaar in Melbourne last month Simon Hettrick, our Deputy Director, was invited to speak about the Institute's work on Triple R radio - Australia's largest community radio station. On the Byte into It show, Simon discusses some of the issues close to his heart, including the Institute's policy work and the campaign for Research Software Engineers.

The show was broadcast on 4 March 2015. An audio stream is available on the Triple R website (the interview starts 21 minutes into the show).

"With few exceptions, every significant advance in research over at least the past 30 years would have been impossible without computer software. Research software—used to produce results rather than for, say, word processing or web searches—has spread far beyond traditionally computational fields such as particle physics and bioinformatics to achieve near ubiquity in all disciplines."

Read the rest of the article at Research Fortnight.


PressConference.jpgThe Software Sustainability Institute is a national facility for building better software. We help researchers to introduce software into their research or improve the software they already use.

We bring together experts from three universities and many different fields of expertise, including software development, project management, dissemination and outreach. The institute was founded in June 2010. We are funded by a five-year grant from the EPSRC, with additional support for software preservation studies from the JISC.


Media enquiries should be directed to Selina Aragon (+44 (0) 131 651 7749).


The Institute and its affiliates regularly publish articles and opinion pieces across a wide selection of media, all of which are listed on our main publications page.

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