Newsletter – March 2023
Welcome to the March 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.
>In the News
We currently have 662 paid-up members of the Society. Not yet a member? Why not join us today? Read about 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. Contact us at [email protected].
Call for Submissions for this year’s RSECon!
Research Software Engineering Conference is back for 2023 (week of 4th September) and is delighted to announce that the conference is open for submissions! The themes include (but submissions are not limited to)
- Working with and as Researchers
- Open Science and Open Source
- Working with Industry and Commercialisation
- Tooling for Research Software Engineering
- Audience-led panels
- Presenter-led panels
The conference is looking at having a more interactive remote offering at this year’s event, and there’s still time to submit your feedback via the RSECon Remote provision survey.
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 new Comms and Publicity Working Group
The Society has recently agreed the formation of a new 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].
SocRSE Member Daniel S. Katz Found this on the web:
Betty’s (Re)Search Engine: A client-based search engine for research software stored in repositories (Vasiliy Seibert, Andreas Rausch, Stefan Wittek), https://preprints.inggrid.org/repository/view/16/
Read and comment on the Amsterdam Declaration on Funding Research Software Sustainability – https://adore.software/
In the News
SocRSE Member Cristin Merritt writes…
Supercomputing Celebrates female leadership in Research Software Engineer!
In celebration of Women’s History Month the Supercomputing Conference (SC) series has spent the entire month highlighting female leadership in High Performance Computing (HPC). As part of their profile series their March 20th blog focused on the role of the RSE, featuring Sheri Voelz Mickleson and Dr. Emily Kahl. Read on to get their take on being RSEs within the supercomputing community! Read the full article on the SC23 blog page.
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.
Starting and growing Regional Research Software Communities in the UK and beyond
SocRSE Member Jeremy Cohen, on behalf of the Regional Communities SIG team, writes…
Back in summer 2021, with travel severely restricted and the COVID pandemic still having a major impact, a small group of RSE community members who had been involved in starting and running regional communities pre-pandemic began some online discussions to think about the future of regional communities.
These discussions led to the setup of the Society’s Regional Communities Special Interest Group (SIG) which was officially launched at SeptembRSE in September 2021. In September 2022, the SIG ran an informal regional communities lunchtime get-together at RSECon22. The group’s organising committee has continued to meet and since the SIG launch, we are aware of at least two regional communities within the UK that have been set up with discussions ongoing about several others.
To help further raise awareness of the importance of regional communities and chart a route forward for the SIG, its management and the support it can offer, a Regional Communities SIG event was run on Friday 10th March 2023 via Zoom. The event attracted a small but enthusiastic and engaged international audience who learnt more about regional communities and the SIG through a couple of short introductory presentations, followed by discussions in breakout groups.
Three discussion groups of 4-5 participants each, with a facilitator from the SIG supporting each group, discussed a range of ideas around the future of the SIG and opportunities for regional communities in general. Each group worked from a shared document that invited them to discuss three areas: Remit – what should the SIG’s remit be?; Opportunities – how can the SIG help to form regional groups and help them work together? What benefits could this offer?; and Logistics – how would the community like the SIG to operate? It was suggested that the groups should record the two most significant points from their discussion for each of these areas. The discussions yielded a number of interesting points raising various possibilities for the future.
We also invited attendees to volunteer to take a more active role in helping to run the SIG to ensure that it is sustainable in the long term. Following on from the session, attendees were invited to complete a form where they could express their interest in getting more involved with the SIG or receiving support or advice about setting up a regional group. Even if you weren’t able to attend the event, we invite you to complete this form if you’d like to join the SIG or get more involved with running it, or if you’re thinking about starting a regional research software community yourself.
3rd April 2-3pm – Open Communications and Publicity Subgroup Meeting
Following on from the above announcement of the creation of a Comms and Publicity working group, the Trustee subgroup for Comms and Publicity will be holding an open meeting next Monday 3rd April at 2pm-3pm. This is open to all Society members and aims to provide an opportunity for members to find out more about what the Comms and Publicity subgroup do and what could be achieved by being part of the new working group. All welcome via Zoom.
Meeting ID: 833 8547 7153, Passcode: VE!3x=
13th and 14 April – GATHERS-hack datadive
GATHERS-hack datadive will take place on April 13th and 14th 2023 and is hosted by the Technical University of Vienna! [email protected]
24th April – RSE Midlands conference
RSE Midlands conference is coming in April 2023 https://rse-midlands.github.io/docs/event-24th-april-2023/
27th and 28th April – EasyBuild/EESSI UK workshop and 8th EasyBuild User Meeting (EUM’23)
The EasyBuild/EESSI UK workshop will take place at Imperial on the 27th and 28th April 2023. Attendance is free but registration is required and places are limited. See the workshop webpages for further info. This is a great opportunity to learn about EasyBuild and to engage with the UK EasyBuild and EESSI communities. This event is being held in conjunction with, and will follow on from, the [8th EasyBuild User Meeting (EUM’23) which will also take place at Imperial on the 24th-26th April. Registration deadlines are approaching – for the UK EasyBuild/EESSI workshop, the registration deadline is Sunday 9th April. For the EUM, an earlier registration deadline of Sunday 2nd April applies.
1st to 31st May – Climate Informatics 2023: Reproducibility Challenge
Take part in this year’s Climate Informatics Reproducibility Challenge! From 1-31 May, teams of 2-4 will collaborate to create a notebook which reproduces the key contributions of a published environmental data science paper for eventual integration in the open-source Environmental Data Science (EDS) Book. Teams will locate the data and code associated with their chosen paper; train, validate, and test the models used in the paper; visualise key results from these experiments; discuss their work with peer reviewer(s); and ultimately weave together a narrative illuminating the value of open science which culminates in a citeable, DOI-tagged notebook. Teams will further have the opportunity to network and exchange technical Q&A with fellow participants in weekly drop-in socials throughout the competition.
2nd to 4th May – SSI’s Collaboration Workshop 2023 (CW23)
The Software Sustainability Institute’s Collaborations Workshop series brings together researchers, developers, innovators, managers, funders, publishers, policy makers, leaders and educators to explore best practices and the future of research software. Collaborations Workshop 2023 (CW23) will take place as a hybrid event in Manchester, UK from Tuesday 2 May – Thursday 4 May 2023.
19th to 30th June – SSI’s Research Software Camp
Our next Research Software Camp is taking place from 19 to 30 June 2023. The Software Sustainability Institute runs free online Research Software Camps once a year over the course of two weeks. Each Camp focusses on introducing basic research software skills and good practices, as well offering one-to-one support as part of our Learning to Code mentorship programme.
w/c 4th September – RSECon23
UK-based SocRSE conference planning to be in September 2023. Call for submissions is now open!
16th to 18th October – US-RSE Conference
First US-RSE Conference will be in October this year Chicago, October 16 to 18, 2023 https://us-rse.org/usrse23/participate/
What Do We (Not) Know About Research Software Engineering?
A.-L. Lamprecht, C. Martinez-Ortiz, M. Barker, S. L. Bartholomew, J. Barton, N. Chue Hong, J. Cohen, S. Druskat, J. Forest, J.-N. Grad, D. S. Katz, R. Richardson, R. Rosca D. Schulte, A. Struck, M. Weinzierl, “What Do We (Not) Know About Research Software Engineering?,” Journal of Open Research Software, v.10(1): p. 11, 2022.
As recognition of the vital importance of software for contemporary research is increasing, Research Software Engineering (RSE) is emerging as a discipline in its own right. We present an inventory of relevant research questions about RSE as a basis for future research and initiatives to advance the field, highlighting selected literature and initiatives. This work is the outcome of a RSE community workshop held as part of the 2020 International Series of Online Research Software Events (SORSE) which identified and prioritized key questions across three overlapping themes: people, policy and infrastructure. Almost half of the questions focus on the people theme, which addresses issues related to career paths, recognition and motivation; recruitment and retention; skills; and diversity, equity and inclusion. However, the people and policy themes have the same number of prioritized questions. We recommend that different types of stakeholders, such as RSE employers and policy makers, take responsibility for supporting or encouraging answering of these questions by organizations that have an interest. Initiatives such as the International Council of RSE Associations should also be engaged in this work.
Code For Thought
#Code4Thought episode: the first pilot scheme for mentoring, run by the Society of RSEs in the UK finished recently. SocRSE Member Peter Schmidt spoke with both organisers (Ania, Sam) and a pair of mentor/mentee (Mark, Graham) about their experiences. Listen to the episode on https://tinyurl.com/mwm3pjaz (also on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EafNlGxQUvc and SoundCloud https://on.soundcloud.com/5DEDn)
#Code4Thought episode: our ByteSized RSE series continues with the 5th episode. This time on Lint and static code analysis. Listen to it on https://tinyurl.com/4tffmkee (also on YouTube and SoundCloud). This is the 60th episode of the podcast!
In March we had a double feature for #Code4Thought: Peter’s conference report of the German RSE conference in February this year. It also marks the launch of the German language version of the podcast. Hence, there is a short(er) English summary report and a more comprehensive German one. The links for the English version of #deRSE23: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIpj2AUNsLc https://on.soundcloud.com/zaan8 and https://tinyurl.com/yu2tds3z. And here you get the German language links of #deRSE23 #Code4Thought: (YouTube) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwuDVgO-rs8 , (Soundcloud) https://on.soundcloud.com/c7SsG and https://tinyurl.com/35yws4ek
New #Code4Thought episodes coming in thick and fast: here is Peter talking with Jeremy, Malvika, Radovon and Weronika about the training gap and needs for software engineers in research. Listen to it on https://tinyurl.com/mvcd8kpm, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60xG3hzcdlo or https://on.soundcloud.com/cKo3M
On personal/podcasting news, Peter writes…
In March 2023 I decided to leave my role as Research Software Engineer at UCL and focus entirely on podcasting. As many of you know, I am running the community podcast Code for Thought https://tinyurl.com/5542p7ar. Since its launch two years ago it has grown steadily. I am convinced it can go a lot further and I want to give it the attention it deserves.
I also think there is a fantastic opportunity to use podcasting for outreach in research and engineering. In my work I have met many scientists, who wish to promote their work. Indeed, funders often require teams to reach out to the wider community in their grants.
Making our work visible – and audible – forms an essential part of research. And podcasts are an effective tool to connect with a wider and diverse community. With more than two years of podcasting experience and a solid background in science and engineering I am well placed to help researchers and engineers in this effort. Therefore, I am excited to offer my services to teams to create impactful outreach. If you’d like to find out more, contact me on: [email protected].
Finally, allow me to say that this has been an exciting and highly rewarding journey for me. As thrilling as “going solo” is, it is also a little bit unnerving. But ours is a wonderful community and I look forward to working with and for you in the future. Best wishes. Peter.
Listen on https://codeforthought.buzzsprout.com or your favourite podcast directories (also available on YouTube and Soundcloud).
- Defining the roles of research software – by Rob van Neiuwpoort and SocRSE Member Daniel S. Katz
Some interesting UK reviews, collated by SocRSE Member Carole Goble:
BIES/DSIT announcement: UK Science and Technology Framework
- Link to policy paper: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-science-and-technology-framework
- SMC expert reaction: https://www.sciencemediacentre.org/expert-reaction-to-beis-press-release-about-new-science-and-technology-plan-the-new-science-and-technology-framework/
Independent Review of The Future of Compute: Final report and recommendations
- Full report: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/future-of-compute-review/the-future-of-compute-report-of-the-review-of-independent-panel-of-experts
- Twitter summary: https://twitter.com/ZoubinGhahrama1/status/1632721430465880065?t=PbQdLjA80xFfjZqGCKJ7eA&s=19
Nurse Review of Research, development and innovation (RDI) organisational landscape
Note: UK government budget on 15 March 2023 approved the recommended spends of £900M, on AI (including the “Manchester Prize” of £1M per year for 10 years) and to include an exascale computer https://www.electronicsweekly.com/news/spring-budget-2023-exascale-supercomputer-ai-research-resource-mhra-changes-2023-03/
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)
AU/NZ RSE Group
Belgium Research Software Engineers Community
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
Responsibility for Research Software in Canada is transitioning from CANARIE to The Alliance.
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!