Newsletter – July 2023
Welcome to the July newsletter from The Society of Research Software Engineering! Our bi-monthly newsletter announces new Society initiatives, gathers RSE news, events, blogs, papers and anything else interesting and relevant together in one place. If you would like to add an item or suggest a new section to the next newsletter, submit it via this short form.
We currently have 690 paid-up members of the Society. Not yet a member? Why not join us today? Should you become member 700, you will win a prize (likely a conference tee-shirt)! Read about all the benefits of being a member on our website.
We welcome people to become members who are not employed as RSEs but do support our mission. We are looking for one sentence, or one paragraph, contributions from such people to highlight the fact that we are about research software engineering and not just research software engineers. Several professors are active members of the Society, for example. Contact us at [email protected].
Registration is just about still OPEN for RSECon23 in Swansea, on 5–7 September. In-person tickets are £330, and remote tickets £100, with a 10% discount for members of the Society of Research Software Engineering*. More details, and a link to the registration form, can be found at https://rsecon23.society-rse.org. Important: Discount on-campus accommodation closes on the 31st July 2023.
You can now order some RSECon23 merchandise – https://socrse.myspreadshop.co.uk/all. It looks like delivery is 1-2 weeks, so make sure to gets your ordered in plenty of time if you want to wear it to the conference.
There will also be several satellite events https://rsecon23.society-rse.org/satellite-events/.
* Society members should have received a discount code by email; get in touch if that is not the case.
SocRSE Election of Trustees
Nominations for Trustees of the RSE Society are open until 23:59 BST, Friday 4th August 2023, ahead of the September elections. If you’d like to get involved with the work of the Society, putting yourself forward as a trustee is one of best ways to have an impact. You can see all the details of what the job of a trustee is like at Everything you wanted to know about being a Trustee of the RSE Society but were afraid to ask (https://society-rse.org/2023-being-a-trustee/). Put yourself forward here https://society-rse.org/2023-trustee-nominations-and-elections/. We particularly encourage early-career applicants as well as individuals from groups that you think might be under-represented. If you have any questions, get in touch with the trustees at [email protected] or use the #elections2023 channel on the RSE Slack. Many RSE teams encourage their members’ involvement in the Society: we would like to thank the RSE leaders who provide support for their people to become Trustees. We had our second Q&A drop-in session on 26 July 2023, and it was great to be able to share with the community that several groups provided this support.
Call for Papers – RSE-HPC-2023
Announcing the Research Software Engineers in HPC Workshop (RSE-HPC-2023) to be held as part of SC23 (hybrid event, in Denver, CO, USA and virtually). This will be a half-day workshop 8:30am-12:00pm MST (UTC-7), Sunday, November 12, 2023.
This workshop will bring together RSEs and allies involved in HPC, from all over the world, to grow the RSE community by establishing and strengthening professional networks of current RSEs and RSE leaders. We’ll hear about successes and challenges that RSEs and RSE groups have experienced, and discuss ways to increase awareness of RSE opportunities and improve support for RSEs.
We encourage prospective participants to submit position papers (limit of 2 pages, not counting references; no format prescribed) on topics related to RSE issues. Papers and discussion topics should be submitted using the SC23 submission website. For more information, see the workshop website.
Let the Society support your RSE event!
Do you have an idea for an event about research software and supports the Society’s mission statement? The Society is here to help, why not submit a request to our Events and Initiatives Fund to help get your event going. You can submit a request via our Google form or contact us for a more informal discussion via [email protected].
Get involved with the Comms and Publicity Working Group
The Society has agreed the formation of a working group for Communications and Publicity. This working group is open to all Society members who want to get more involved in helping shape the work of the Society around the way we do Communications and Publicity. If you want to get involved with drafting the newsletter, expanding our social media output or shaping other communication based topics let us know via [email protected].
We’re looking for more case studies!
We want to show all the shapes and forms that RSEs come in, and all the brilliant work they do and are looking for RSEs willing to work with us to put together case studies. We will send you a set of questions to answer (either career-focused or EDI focused, your choice), and are very happy to have a chat if you are unsure about something or need help writing up your answers. Email [email protected] if you are interested or have any questions.
15/16 August 2023 – Educating Engineers for Safe AI Workshops
The Alan Turing Institute, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Cambridge and UCL are organising a series of workshops to discuss “Educating Engineers for Safe AI” – including what RSEs should consider when using AI and ML.
More details and an Eventbrite page to sign up will be coming soon, but keep these (remaining) dates in your diaries:
- Newcastle: 15/16 August
At the workshop participants will take the input from the previous workshops (held in July) to develop a roadmap for educating software and systems engineers (including RSEs) to create safe, ethical and trustworthy AI in their workplaces.
w/c 4th September 2023 – RSECon23
UK-based (at Swansea University) the SocRSE conference. Registrations – for both in person and remote attendance – are now open. Members of the Society should have received a coupon code for a discount. Contact [email protected] if you don’t have it, but are a fully paid-up member. Note: This discount also applies to people attending remotely. It’s worth joining the Society for the in person conference discount alone! Conference registration is here: https://register.oxfordabstracts.com/event/4430. The Call for Volunteers remains open: https://rsecon23.society-rse.org/volunteers/.
Important: Discount on-campus accommodation closes on the 31st July 2023.
Also, if you can, please help us find organisations willing to sponsor the conference https://rsecon23.society-rse.org/sponsorship-packages-for-rsecon23/ – perhaps the very organisation you work for?
21st September 2023 – Festival of the Hidden REF
26–28 September 2023 deRSE Unconference 2023
An “Unconference”, you ask? For this event we let you create the programme! We offer a great location (Dornburger Schlösser, Jena), food, plenty of time and a lot of people interested in RSE, but the topics will come from you and we will make sure there are enough free slots for you to talk, code, write, and have fun. We have two different formats for you to fill: short talks with round tables and break-out sessions. To learn more and create your submission, go to the website https://un-derse23.sciencesconf.org/ . And we’re delighted to announce the keynote speakers joining us at the deRSE Unconference 2023 are
- Malvika Sharan from the Alan Turing Institute talking about ‘Open Science for enabling reproducible, ethical and community-driven research’; and
- Florian Mannseicher from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) talking about ‘Research Software and its management – a funders perspective’
And, here is a sample of one of the submitted and accepted talks…
Software Metadata – What is it? How does it help? How do I include it in my repos?
As (research) software finally gains the recognition as a valuable scientific output, describing/referencing software becomes also more important to follow scientific good practice. Hence, software artefacts need to have descriptive metadata to enable compliance with the FAIR principles and, thus, also an integration into the well established curation processes of the scientific libraries.
In this proposed breakout session the following topics will be covered:
• What is possible with metadata enriched software?
• What are the metadata requirements for software?
• How can they be included?
• How can they be lead to additional value for the authors/contributors of the software?
9th October 2023 – RSE-eScience-2023
Sustainable RSE Ecosystems within eScience. Details here https://us-rse.org/rse-escience-2023/
Possible topics include (but are not limited to):
- Experiences as an RSE in eScience
- Struggles between RSEs and domain scientists – how to find the common ground?
- Different roles in the development of research software
- How to make the eScience and RSE ecosystem more sustainable?
- What can the eScience community do to support their RSEs? How can RSEs develop and progress their careers within the eScience community?
- How to argue for funding to develop and sustain scientific software, and support the RSEs doing the work?
- Examples of RSEs enabling sustainability within the eScience community
16th to 18th October 2023 – US-RSE Conference
First US-RSE Conference will be in October this year Chicago, October 16 to 18, 2023. Good news, everyone! Registration for US-RSE’23 opens on August 1, 2023! You can find more details on the Registration page.
31st October 2023, MDENet, the EPSRC-funded network on Model-Driven Engineering
are holding a thematic workshop on Research Software at King’s College London. This one-day event aims to improve mutual understanding of challenges in Research Software and opportunities for Model-Driven Engineering to help address them. Here is the call for expressions of interest: https://mde-network.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Call-for-EOI-workshop-Research-Software.pdf and the application form: https://forms.office.com/e/YK53MD1hrv. There is also a travel and accommodation support fund of up to £300, that you can find here: https://forms.office.com/e/S9pgbWZ6qU.
Peter Schmidt – A Hot Podcasting Spring
The period between June and July has been very busy, exciting and eventful. To begin with, I moved from being a research software engineer at University College London to a full-time and freelance podcaster. In the same period, I also published new “Code for Thought” episodes almost on a weekly basis. The new German language version, launched in February this year, seems fairly well established. And season 1 of the ByteSized RSE “mini-series” ended with an episode on the “README file”. And sometime during this period, the podcast reached the 75th published episode.
All of which means: I need a bit of a break. With that in mind, August will be a bit quieter in terms of new episodes. This allows me to prepare for season 6 of Code for Thought, which will start in September. There is already plenty of material for the next season that I hope you will find interesting.
In the meantime, enjoy your well deserved summer holidays and keep listening.
PS: if you want to catch up on June/July episodes, here is the complete list (EN = English, DE = German):
Highlights of the SSI Research Software Camp: FAIR Software https://www.software.ac.uk/blog/2023-07-27-highlights-research-software-camp-fair-software
SSI instructor training update https://www.software.ac.uk/blog/2016-09-26-training-update-engaging-instructor-training-documenting-procedures-administering
Awareness of the RSE role and the RSE community is growing around the world with new national groups being created all the time. In this section, we introduce these groups and raise awareness of their success. The Society supports new groups and collaborates with representatives from them on various initiatives (papers, international workshops).
In January 2021, the International Council of RSE Associations was founded as a forum to communicate and formally meet to ensure cohesion between associations and to provide a platform for open discussion around international issues and affairs.
(In alphabetical order)
Join the (informal) chats of the Belgium Research Software Engineers community on https://gitter.im/be-rse/.
Digital Research Alliance of Canada / Alliance de recherche numerique du Canada
Dates for the joined monthly calls of the Open Science und Research Software Engineering communities can be found here.
New meet-ups are scheduled for NL RSE. Interested in proposing a workshop, talk, or some other contribution? Get in touch!
Research Software Hour…Hosted by members of the Nordic-RSE community, this continues weekly on Twitch. Research Software Hour is an online stream/show about scientific computing and research software. It is designed to provide the skills typically picked up via informal networks; each week, they do some combination of exploring new tools, analyzing and improving someone’s research code, and discussion. Watchers can take part and contribute code to us which they analyze and discuss on stream. They broadcast on Twitch Thursdays at 20:30 Oslo time / 21:30 Helsinki time.
Upcoming and recurring events can be found on the events website!