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ReSA News: September 2019

This month, we wanted to reiterate the need for feedback and participation in the task forces beginning to take shape:

  • Software landscape analysis. How can we identify the different communities and topics of interest for the research software community (e.g., preservation, RSEs, citation, productivity, sustainability)? We plan to use this understanding to write an article to educate the research community about the importance of software, and/or to find areas where we should try to involve additional representatives in ReSA. Please contact ReSA if you’re interested in collaborating on this.
  • Evidence for the importance of research software. There’s the start of a list on the ReSA website. How can we add to this and make this information more widely utilised? In particular it would be good to find examples from a wider range of disciplines. Please contact ReSA if you’re interested in collaborating on this.
  • Current opportunities for funding research software. A list of funding opportunities is one example of a resource that ReSA can collectively build to help its constituent members. How can we ensure this is presented in a useful way? How can we work together to keep this up to date? This will include opportunities that are nationally/regionally constrained, as well as those that are available globally. Please contact ReSA if you’re interested in collaborating on this.

In addition, below we have a few interesting tidbits from the larger research software community.

Making Software A First-Class Citizen – What are barriers to collaborating internationally on research software? How might we overcome them? Neil Chue Hong’s talk at RSE Conference 2019, Birmingham, which introduces ReSA.

Raising the Profile of Research Software by Anton Akhmerov et al. Research software is fundamental to contemporary research, yet it does not receive the recognition it rightfully deserves. This needs to change, particularly in the context of the discussions around open science and reproducibility. We argue that if open science is to truly lead towards better, more transparent, and reproducible research, then research software needs to be treated in equal footing to research data and publications at the policy level. In this paper, we present a concrete followup to the DORA declaration in the form of recommendations for raising the profile of research software. We divide our recommendations into four categories: Software availability and quality, Software sustainability, Training, and Human capital. These recommendations provide steps for achieving recognition for research software as a fundamental and vital component of research.

Data-driven Software Sustainability, URSSI blog by Dan Katz. This blog post suggests an expression that can be used to loosely quantify software sustainability, and then proposes that projects that seek sustainability use this formula when making decisions.

Making open source research software visible: a path to better sustainability? SSI blog by Neil Chue Hong. Why do open source research software projects appear to have a low rate of success? Is it because we lack appropriate models for sustaining research software development or is it because the community isn’t seeing the results?

BSSw Fellowship Applications are Open. The Better Scientific Software (BSSw) Fellowship program fosters and promotes practices, processes and tools to improve developer productivity and software sustainability of scientific codes. Each 2020 BSSw Fellow will receive up to $25,000 for an activity that promotes better scientific software. Applicants must be affiliated with a U.S.-based institution that is able to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. Applications for the 2020 Fellowships will be accepted through Tuesday, 15 October 2019. This is a firm deadline that will not be extended. Details of the program can be found at [], including an FAQ list and information on prior Fellows. Those interested in applying are encouraged to participate in an informational fellowship webinar and Q&A session, scheduled for 1-2pm EDT on Friday, 20 September 2019. Please subscribe to the BSSw mailing list for teleconference details and other updates on the program.

The Fourth Conference of Research Software Engineering has wrapped up, and a useful look at some of the talks and discussions can be found through the tweets about the conference.