Policy

The Software Sustainability Institute and zaf-RSE invite anyone coding in and for academia in South Africa to complete this survey on research software. 

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. We would like to build on the momentum gained in the UK RSE community and help to create a voice for the South African RSE community. Similar surveys will be conducted in Canada, Australia, Norway, the Netherlands, the USA and again in the UK. For reasons of comparability, this survey was closely coordinated with the others. We thank Prof Ilani Loubser from the North-West University's Space Physics programme for working with the NWU eResearch Initiative to provide South African context to the survey.

This survey gives South African researchers and scientist the opportunity to make their point of view and experiences 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 software in the South African research landscape, or anyone who employs software experts in the South African academic landscape.

There are ca. 65 questions in this survey. It takes about 10 - 15 minutes to complete. Please note that this research is not compulsory and even if you decide to participate you can withdraw at any…

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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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Understanding how to choose a piece of software is difficult. What code should I bet my research on? Will the project producing the software grow or shrink? Is the code base stable or changing? Does the project depend on one organisation or many? Is the community healthy or hopelessly ill?

At the Software Sustainability Institute, we want to ensure that research software is sustainable. One of the ways we can do this is by measuring the general health of the community around the software and developing methodologies and tools for analysing modern software development. With this in place, we can improve the health of projects and make it easier to answer the questions above.

We are therefore delighted that the Software Sustainability Institute is a founding partner in the Community Health Analytics Open Source Software project (CHAOSS). CHAOSS is a new Linux Foundation project focused on creating the analytics and metrics to help define community health that was officially launched this week.

The aims of the project are to:

  • Establish standard implementation-agnostic metrics for measuring software community activity, contributions, and health, which are objective and repeatable.
  • Produce integrated open source software for analyzing software community development.

Other members contributing to the project include Bitergia, Eclipse Foundation, Jono Bacon Consulting, Laval University (Canada),…

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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.

2014: a survey odyssey

Back In 2014, I surveyed a group of UK universities to see how their researchers used software. We believed that an inexorable link existed between software and research, but we had yet to prove it. I designed the study, but I never intended to perform the analysis. This was a job better suited to someone who could write code, and I could not. Unfortunately, things didn’t go to plan and I found myself in the disquieting situation of having an imminent deadline and no one available to do the coding. Under these circumstances, few people have the fortitude to take some time out to learn how to…

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On this page, we've provided more information about the RSE Cloud Computing Award and how it works.

Help

All questions and suggestions should be sent to competition@software.ac.uk.

Terminology

We will use the word event to refer to conferences, meetings, training, workshops and other events.

The word Fellow or Fellows will refer to a recipient of the RSE Cloud Computing Award.

The word expenses will be used to describe expenses incurred for both travel, subsistence and expenses related to the running of and attending events.

Eligibility

Applicants must:

  • Hold a full-time position at a university or non-profit research organisation;
  • Be able to receive award funds into a university/organisation finance account that can be drawn against for reimbursement of incurred expenses;

Applicants may have one or more of the following roles:

  • research software engineer who supports the work of researchers;
  • A researcher who uses software;
  • A developer who writes tools for researchers;
  • In a leadership role in projects or organisations that make heavy use of software, compute, and data services.

Applicants should be UK resident and primarily practicing in the UK. Exceptional applications from outside the UK may be considered at the panel’s sole discretion.

How we decide who succeeds

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The Research Software Engineering (RSE) Cloud Computing Awards, supported by Microsoft, enable RSEs to explore, educate and extend cloud computing for researchers.

Microsoft has championed the Research Software Engineers initiative since its inception. We are strong supporters and participants in the RSE community, and advocate the importance of RSEs as a key pillar of the research ecosystem.  The Azure for Research initiative has involved thousands of researchers worldwide, working on hundreds of projects, to see how cloud computing can empower researchers to achieve more. The goal of the RSE Cloud Computing Awards program is to create a community bridging researchers, university stakeholders, regional teams, and national services, to better understand how Microsoft Azure can enable better, faster, and more reproducible research.

How to apply

Microsoft is proud to work with the RSE Network to support successful applicants with the following benefits:

  • £2000 GBP to support education, outreach, and implementation of research solutions using the Microsoft Cloud;
  • 12 months of Microsoft Azure credits at $250 USD per month, up to $3,000 for one year;
  • Opportunity to provide direct feedback to Microsoft;
  • Promotion of RSE cloud computing activity with Microsoft Azure to a national and global audience, providing visibility of the applicant’s work and impact.
  • Use of the title RSE Cloud Computing Fellow.

Successful applicants should demonstrate…

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We are pleased to announce the next awardees from the EPSRC USA-UK Research Software Engineer Travel fund. This funding aims to encourage greater collaboration between the UK and USA-based Research Software Engineer communities to help with: investigating emerging hardware and the impact on software; building collaboration around a particular science area; developing common community codes; and building links between computational / computer science and mathematics. The deadline for the next round of the fund is 1st September.

Awardees

A consortium led by Dr James Hetherington, Head of the Research Software Development Group at UCL and Head of Research Engineering at the Alan Turing Institute, comprising the five Alan Turing Institute partners (UCL, University of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh, University of Oxford, and University of Warwick) has been awarded money to help establish an ongoing exchange program with the three US Moore-Sloan Data Science Environments at University of California Berkeley, New York University and the University of Washington. The funding will help to bring across leading data scientists / RSEs including Dr Ariel Rokem, Dr Claudio Silva, Dr Jacob VanderPlas, and Dr Stéfan van der Walt, for an un-conference event hosted at the ATI to identify collaborations and visits to partner sites.

Dr David Henty, group manager at EPCC at the University of Edinburgh, has been awarded money to support the visit of Dr Elsa…

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The UK Open Research Data Task Force has just released a report looking at the Research Data Infrastructure Landscape in the UK and beyond. The report provides a thorough overview of the infrastructure that supports open research data in the UK and abroad.

It details the policies that have been implemented by research funders and universities themselves; the technological platforms and tools developed at local, national and international levels; and the cultural challenges that are still present across different disciplinary research groups. The report has been reviewed and discussed by members of the Open Research Data Taskforce who represent HEFCE, RCUK, Wellcome Trust, UUK, Jisc, BEIS, academics from a number of disciplines and champions of open research data, including Software Sustainability Institute Co-Investigator, Professor David De Roure.

The report highlights a number of issues covering technical, cultural and behavioural, and operational and policy concerns. With respect to software, the report notes that:

"Few data policies make more than passing reference to software and code, though they can constitute a significant barrier to data sharing and open data. For they are integral to the generation of research data; and access to them is essential if users are to be able to re-use data effectively or validate research findings. There is potential to use software management plans to encourage researchers to consider how the code they develop is organised and published, improving its reuse and the…

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Please note that all funds under this initiative have now been allocated - this page is for archive purposes only.

Key dates

  • Deadline for applications: 1st of each month, until all funds disbursed. This fund is now closed.

  • Funding decision made: two weeks after deadline

  • Impact Event: TBC

  • Fund spending deadline: 31st March 2018

Background

EPSRC has made a sum of £35,000 available to support collaboration, share knowledge and build stronger partnerships between UK and US Research Software Engineers (RSEs).

The Software Sustainability Institute, acting through the University of Edinburgh, will administer this initiative and make grants available to support objectives such as sharing specific expertise or projects, or promoting and sharing RSE experiences with international centres.

An initial round of funding will target applications from individual EPSRC RSE Fellows, and organisation-led proposals from the UK Research Software Engineer Leaders Network, and the UK RSE Association. Following this, applications will be open to any UK-based RSEs working in an EPSRC remit area.

Aims and Scope

This funding aims to encourage greater collaboration between the UK and USA-based Research Software Engineer communities around the following topics:

  • investigating emerging hardware and the impact on software;

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career paths in academicaBy Jonathan Cooper, University College London, Ilektra Christidi, University College London, Thomas Etherington, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Caroline Jay, University of Manchester, Martin O’Reilly, The Alan Turing Institute, Melody Sandells, CORES Science and Engineering Limited, Andy South, Freelance.

This post is part of the Collaborations Workshops 2017 speed blogging series.

“Is there an alternative to the standard academic career path that would actually make research work better?” There are many essential roles that make up a team. At present, the creativity and skills of those outside of a principal investigator role are often hidden behind academic power structures that do not necessarily…

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