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ReSA News: April 2020

We hope that you are all safe and well in these extraordinary times.

This month’s news includes an update on the software component of the RDA COVID WG, news on the FAIR for Research Software effort, and introduces the ReSA Director, Michelle Barker.


ReSA continues to support the Research Data Alliance-COVID Working Group (RDA-COVID WG). The WG released its first set of guidelines last week, which includes overarching recommendations on software best practice for the research community responding to COVID-19.

If you are interested in contributing to the development of these guidelines for research software practices over the next month, to assist the global research community in responding to COVID-19, then you can RDA COVID19-software email list to help draft any of the following documents:

  • Guidelines for policy makers (draft to be released on 1 May 2020)
  • More detailed and practical guidelines for researchers across fields
  • A Decision tree to facilitate navigation of good practices for research software and code.

FAIR for Research Software update

You can now signup to the mailing list for the FAIR for Research Software WG (FAIR4RS WG). This group resulted from the FAIR for research software session at RDAVP15, run by the Software Source Code IG along with authors of the position paper “Towards FAIR Principles for Research Software. It brings together and builds on a wide range of work internationally, notably the SSC IG activity at P13 and events within the ELIXIR community, and a number of other community publications and events.

FAIR4RS WG will enable coordination of a range of existing community-led discussions on how to define and effectively apply FAIR principles to research software, to achieve adoption of these principles. Over 18 months the group will deliver:

  • A document defining FAIR principles for research software
  • A document describing how stakeholders can apply the FAIR principles to research software (based on existing frameworks)
  • An engagement plan to raise awareness of the academic ecosystem on making research software FAIR

Introducing the ReSA Director

We welcome Dr Michelle Barker to the role of ReSA Director. Michelle has held a range of leadership roles in the research software community over the last ten years. Mostly recently this included as a Director of the Australian Research Data Commons, where her responsibilities included the research software infrastructure investment program, and the development of a national digitally skilled research workforce. She has served as the Chair of the OECD Global Science Forum Expert Group on Digital Workforce Capacity and Digital Skills for Data-Intensive Research, and other international forums focused on research software and the digitally skilled research workforce.

Community news

The Netherlands eScience Center has awarded funding to four innovative research proposals related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The selected projects will run between 3 and 12 months and receive in-kind research engineering support. With these projects, the eScience Center will use its expertise in research software development to help address the current pandemic.

The physics community have been organising a website to facilitate discussion, provide resources and document activities in which non-standard resources (e.g. like particle physics expertise) are being deployed to support new and creative efforts in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects.

If you’d like to suggest items for inclusion in ReSA News then please contact us.

Stay safe,

Michelle Barker