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ReSA Newsletter: July 2021

This month in research software - community news

The French Ministry of Research unveiled the second multi-annual National Plan for Open Science in France, which squarely puts software on a par with publications and data in research and Open Science, and announces a number of measures designed to open research software and better recognise software development in research. See Roberto’s Di Cosmo’s very useful summary of key measures, including a clear recommendation to make research software available under an open source licence, unless there are clear strong reasons not to do so; and the creation of a high level expert group dedicated to research software in the National Committee for Open Science.

The European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) has published draft charters for EOSC task forces that include a task force on Infrastructure for Quality Research Software. The main objectives of this task force are to:

  1. Foster the development and deployment of tools and services that allow researchers to properly archive, reference, describe with proper metadata, share and reuse research software.
  2. Improve the quality of research software, both from the technical and organisational point of view for research software in general and in particular the software used in the services offered through EOSC.
  3. Increase recognition to software developers and maintainers of research software as a valuable research result, on a par with publications and data, in the Open Science landscape.

In brief:

ReSA People Roadmap

ReSA’s mission is to bring research software communities together to collaborate on the advancement of research software. The People Roadmap is a ReSA community consultation running from July - October 2021 that will facilitate identification and prioritisation of the major issues in this area for the research sector, as part of ReSA’s key role in the sector to improve collaboration across national and international research software organisations and initiatives. The People Roadmap aims to increase understanding on how to create an environment where research software personnel are recognised, have appropriate skill sets and access to inclusive communities, within policy and infrastructure environments that support their work.

The People Roadmap will begin with interviews with 25 key stakeholder organisations to facilitate strategic discussion across research software initiatives, with the intention of developing a collaborative approach to solving common issues in the following areas:

  1. Roles/careers/recognition, e.g., Research Software Engineers (RSEs), research software product managers, research software community managers
  2. Skills needed and provision of training (including resources such as best practice guides)
  3. Community/team development, including diversity, equity and inclusion
  4. Policy such as best practice examples relating to personnel issues
  5. Infrastructure, physical infrastructure and standards in areas such as software citation that support people-themed issues

ReSA Steering Committee members

This month ReSA bids farewell to two of its Steering Committee members, Serah Njambi Rono and Tania Allard.

As Director of Community Development & Engagement at The Carpentries, Serah Njambi Rono, has provided opportunities for ReSA to engage in cross-community collaboration. Serah is an exemplar of the values of the Carpentries, who understands that “listening with a goal to be responsive to community needs is indeed one of the most important exercises in community-driven work.” Serah is departing her position at the Carpentries at the end of July 2021 to pursue new opportunities. Read more about Serah and her work in The Carpentries blog.

Tania Allard is the co-director at Quansight Labs and previous Senior. Developer Advocate at Microsoft. She has vast experience in academic research and industrial environments. Her main areas of expertise are within data-intensive applications, scientific computing, and machine learning. She is passionate about mentoring, open source, and its community and is involved in a number of initiatives aimed to build more diverse and inclusive communities.

FAIR4RS Update

The FAIR For Research Software Working Group (FAIR4RS WG) is leading the research software community in the crucial step of agreeing how to apply the FAIR principles to research software. With formal community review of the draft principles now completed, stay tuned for release of the final FAIR principles for research software. The FAIR4RS WG is now starting to focus on or development of guidelines for implementation of the principles, including identification of use cases. Inputs are welcome on potential use cases and existing FAIR research software guidelines and tools that could be leveraged. Some early adopters have already emerged, including Australian Research Data Commons, ELIXIR, and the Netherlands eScience Center.

Upcoming FAIR4RS WG events include: Workshop on Sustainable Software Sustainability (WoSSS). Online 6-8 October 2021. This will include a session on applying the FAIR principles to research software. The FAIR4RS team: Working together to make research software FAIR. A recorded interview on how FAIR4RS engagement is structured to maximise involvement is available as part of the 2021 Collegeville Workshop on Scientific Software: Software Teams. FAIReScience. A workshop at IEEE eScience 2021 to discuss how FAIR principles are being applied to research software, machine learning, workflows and executable notebooks. Online September 20.

Opportunities to get involved with community initiatives

Community events

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The Research Software Alliance (ReSA) is a community of influencers and members of major research software communities, programs, organisations and individuals. ReSA’s vision is that research software be recognised and valued as a fundamental and vital component of research worldwide. The ReSA mission is to bring research software communities together to collaborate on the advancement of research software. ReSA is a fiscally sponsored project of Code for Science and Society.