Surveys

DOI

Last year, the Software Sustainability Institute conducted a survey of Research Software Engineers (RSEs) to learn more about them and their work conditions. The RSE community has grown from a concept born at an Institute event to an international phenomenon. It's important to learn more about this community so that our campaigning, and that of our international partners, continues to help RSEs gain the recognition they deserve for their huge contribution to research.

We began surveying RSEs in 2016, in 2017 we also surveyed Canadian RSEs and last year we added four further countries. Our thanks to our partners: Scott Henwood (Canada), Stephan Janosch and Martin Hammitzsch (Germany), Ben van Werkhoven and Tom Bakker (Netherlands), Anelda van der Walt (South Africa) and Daniel Katz and Sandra Gesing (USA).

Diffusion

In total, we analysed 841 responses across the five countries listed below.

Countries Number of analysed responses Link to analysis Link to data
Canada…
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4982558043_06968b80f1_z.jpgBy Olivier Philippe, Policy Researcher.

DOI

Last year, the Software Sustainability Institute conducted a survey of Research Software Engineers (RSEs) to learn more about them and their work conditions. The RSE community has grown from a concept born at an Institute event to an international phenomenon. It's important to learn more about this community so that our campaigning, and that of our international partners, continues to help RSEs gain the recognition they deserve for their huge contribution to research.

We began surveying RSEs in 2016, in 2017 we also surveyed Canadian RSEs and last year we added four further countries. Our thanks to our partners: Scott Henwood (Canada), Stephan Janosch and Martin Hammitzsch (Germany), Ben van Werkhoven and Tom Bakker (Netherlands), Anelda van der Walt (South Africa) and Daniel S. Katz and Sandra Gesing (USA).

Visit our RSE survey page for an overview of the results and access to the data and analysis.

Vitae has been involved in the career and professional development of researchers for many years, gaining reputation as experts in this field. Vitae is currently exploring the feasibility of providing professional recognition for researcher development professionals including associate trainers and other university staff/professionals who have a role in developing researchers.

Researcher Developers at any stage of their career would be eligible to apply for recognition under three different categories: Associate, Fellow or Senior Fellow, and would use elements from the Vitae Career Framework for Researcher Developers (CFRD), established with sector consultation in 2012, to demonstrate the required competencies to achieve recognition.

Join in and help shape the future of Researcher Developer professional recognition by taking part in the survey before 16 February 2018.

More information can be found on Vitae’s website.

Regular Institute collaborator Dr. Jeffrey Carver of the University of Alabama is conducting a couple of studies relating to the way that people develop research software. These will help provide the community with a better understanding of how different practices, including code review and software metrics are being used in the development of research software.

If you'd like to provide input into these studies, please participate in the following web surveys (each of which will take approximately 15 minutes to complete): 

Code review survey (in conjunction with Nasir Eisty of the University of Alabama) : https://universityofalabama.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bBdeMr08ix8YbXL

Software metrics survey (in conjunction with Dr. George Thiruvathukal from Loyola University-Chicago): https://universityofalabama.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_darjzw2JlY3OXY1

 

Your participation is completely anonymous and voluntary.  You are free not to participate or stop participating any time before you submit your answers. Both research studies have been approved by the University of Alabama Institutional Review Board.

As part of our on-going effort to collect information about RSEs in different countries, the SSI and de-RSE have created a specific version of the UK RSE survey for Germany (more information can be found here). 

Participants are needed for this survey on research software and people writing scientific software for Germany. If you are coding in and for academia in Germany then complete the survey and help us spread the word. You can also access a german version of the survey.

As of now there is not much knowledge about the community of those in research and science who develop software. This survey aims to gain valuable insights into this community in order to support research funders and other institutions to develop strategies and funding programs as well as policies.

Last and this years’ UK surveys [1, 2] allowed to gain valuable insights. To continue our success with this campaign, we need to track how the community evolves at other places. Simultaneously, similar surveys will be conducted in Canada, Australia, Norway, the Netherlands, the USA and South Africa. For reasons of comparability, this survey was closely coordinated with the others.

This survey gives German researchers and scientists the opportunity for their point of view and experiences to be heard and thus be part of the development of this community. It would be also very helpful if you could spread the word to others who develop…

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pandas_in_space copy.jpgBy Simon Hettrick, Deputy Director.

This is a story about reproducibility. It’s about the first study I conducted at the Institute, the difficulties I’ve faced in reproducing analysis that was originally conducted in Excel, and it’s testament to the power of a tweet that’s haunted me for three years.

The good news is that the results from my original analysis still stand, although I found a mistake in a subdivision of a question when conducting the new analysis. This miscalculation was caused by a missing “a” in a sheet containing 3763 cells. This is as good a reason as any for moving to a more reproducible platform.

Data and citation

Before getting to the nitty gritty, here's where you can find the data and analysis. The data collected during this survey is available for download from Zenodo. Please cite "S.J. Hettrick et al, UK Research Software Survey 2014"​​, DOI:10.5281/zenodo.1183562.

The data is licensed under a Creative Commons by Attribution licence and the analysis is licensed under a BSD 3-clause licence (in both cases attribution to "The University of Edinburgh on behalf of the Software Sustainability Institute").

2014: a…

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You are invited to participate in a survey on software licensing designed to investigate how well software developers understand common open-source software licences. Prof. Gail Murphy and graduate student Daniel Almeida are looking for software developers that have built, or are currently building on, open-source software in their projects - and we are particularly interested in hearing from people building open-source software for research.

Participating in the anonymous online survey will take approximately 30 minutes. If you are interested in participating, please visit the survey.

If you have any questions, please contact daa@cs.ubc.ca.

By Simon Hettrick, Deputy Director.

No one knows how much software is used in research. Look around any lab and you’ll see software – both standard and bespoke – being used by all disciplines and seniorities of researchers. Software is clearly fundamental to research, but we can’t prove this without evidence. And this lack of evidence is the reason why we ran a survey of researchers at 15 Russell Group universities to find out about their software use and background.

Headline figures

  • 92% of academics use research software
  • 69% say that their research would not be practical without it
  • 56% develop their own software (worryingly, 21% of those have no training in software development)
  • 70% of male researchers develop their own software, and only 30% of female researchers do so

Data and citation

The original analysis for this project was conducted using Excel. To improve openness and reproducibility, I re-analysed the data using Python as described in my post on the subject. Since the new analysis agrees with old analysis but it considerably easier to work with, I suggest that the new analysis is used for all future citation.

In which case, please cite "S.J. Hettrick et al, UK Research…

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To secure funding for the next generation of computational research provision, EPSRC is assembling evidence to present a persuasive case for continued support. This will include capital and associated resource funding to provide the tools that the computational research community will need to carry out world leading research.

A key component of this process is to develop a science case across EPSRC’s remit which:

  • demonstrates current focus of computational research
  • highlights successes
  • identifies the future cutting edge science questions that will be a focus for the community in the years ahead

To enable this science case to be built EPSRC has developed a survey and are now asking for community opinions. We hope that you will take the time to complete this important survey and have your voice heard.

EPSRC are keen to receive responses from the broadest possible range of computational researchers and all responses will be considered to form a vital evidence base.

Visit our blog for debate, shared thinking and new perspectives on issues affecting the engineering and physical sciences community.

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) - Investing in research for discovery and innovation.

By Simon Hettrick, Deputy Director and Policy Lead.

This is the third in a series of blog posts taking you behind the scenes at the Institute. Today, we here about the recent activities of the Policy team.

Thus far in 2015, the efforts of the policy team have mainly been focused on providing data and support for the Institute’s funding bid for a second phase. With this out of the way, July has seen the policy team re-focusing on research. We’ve also had time to catch up with our Research Software Engineer campaign and added a new member of staff.

Surveying further

In October 2014, we ran a nationwide survey to determine researchers’ views on software. We were keen to quickly analyse and publish these results and get the preliminary message out. Due to staff availability, we ended up conducting this first pass analysis in Excel. Although we published our analysis, Excel is not the best package for transparency, which is why we rightly received opprobrium from open-data advocates. But we reasoned that our approach would be acceptable as long as we repeated and extended the work in a more transparent manner in the future.

Our new starter this July, Olivier Philippe, arrived with some serious R skills and was immediately tasked with making the survey analysis…

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