Engaging the software in research community


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Description of the way in which the software sustainability institute engages the software in research community. It covers why, how, the programmes, how to select people, activities those selected do, benefits, recommendations and more.

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  • Software reviews and refactoring, collaborations to develop your project, guidance and best practice on software development, project management, community building, publicity and more…Drawing on pool of specialists to drive the continued improvement and impact of research software developed by and for researchersProviding services for research software users and developersDeveloping research community interactions and capacityPromoting research software best practice and capability
  • Who know best what the software challenges and needs are - people who use, build, manage, need software to help or support researchBeing cross institutional - Edinburgh, Southampton, Manchester and Oxford - and have good networks of softrware in reseach it is good to reach out and build a specific relationship with people to aid them learning about software in research and waht the packages, problems, are in their domains, area so we can learn from and helpmessage: networks help us make sure that we are doing the right thing for the users.identify the right thing for users (researcher, developers, managers, PI)
  • Wider than SSI and partners
  • 2012 we ran the Agents programme for early career researchMuch engagement – travel money2012 we ran the SuperPalsprogramme for mid-late career researchersAwkward engagement – buying out timeJuly 2012 Ad board agreed with combining the programmes and suggested the title FellowFellows would be different career stagesTravel, training, forums and other as activitiesEach Fellow managed based in their individual plans/stage
  • Any of those shortlisted would have made good Fellows
  • Active management – needs running not just setup
  • Engaging the software in research community

    1. 1. Engaging the www.software.ac.uksoftware in Partners:researchcommunityEGI Community Forum 2013, 8-12 April2013, ManchesterShoaib Sufi, Community Manager, Software Funders:Sustainability Instituteshoaib.sufi@software.ac.uk Software Sustainability Institute
    2. 2. The Software Sustainability Institute www.software.ac.ukA national facility for promoting softwarein world-class research•Better software enables better research•Software reaches boundaries in itsdevelopment cycle that preventimprovement, growth and adoption•Providing the expertise and servicesneeded to negotiate to the next stage•Developing the policy and tools tosupport the community developing andusing research software•Capability building and promoting reproducible research Software Sustainability Institute Funding courtesy of EPSRC EP/H043160/1
    3. 3. Why engage the Software in Research Community ? www.software.ac.uk• Serving effectively – guiding what we should do• Running efficiently – using our resources for maximum benefit• Growing awareness – today PhDs are tomorrows PIs  “Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast” – Peter Drucker Software Sustainability Institute
    4. 4. How we engage the community www.software.ac.uk• By consulting and involving …  people who use, build, manage, need software to help or support research• Openly engaging the wider research community …  Agents, Super Pals, (Champions), Fellows• Using cross institutional experience …  Edinburgh, Southampton, Manchester and Oxford  Being embedded in projects, networks and research groups Software Sustainability Institute
    5. 5. Open engagement – the deal www.software.ac.uk• In exchange for £3000/person expenses, we gain:  Intelligence reports from conferences  A broad range of expertise against which we can review ideas  New contacts and dissemination routes  Representation from “insiders” within the selected research domains  Running capacity building workshops (e.g. SWC)  Taking part in policy forums  Other – unanticipated activities Software Sustainability Institute
    6. 6. Agents/Super Pals 2011/12 www.software.ac.uk • In 2011, we recruited 10 early-career to gather intelligence from their research domains and 2 mid career researchers • Materials chemistry • Semantic web • Sports science • Software development practice • Metagenomics • Environmental sustainability • Coastal Engineering • Glaciology • Clinical physics • BioinformaticsSelUCCR champions – SelUCCR partnership between UK NES and SSI Software Sustainability Institute Super Pals
    7. 7. Travel 2011/12 www.software.ac.uk Software Sustainability Institute
    8. 8. Outcomes 2011/12 www.software.ac.uk• 2-3 Agent reports per month (32 reports in total)• A proposal submitted to NERC• An introduction to speak at Royal Statistical Society• An article in Ariadne• Many blog posts• Short-term contacts from Agent reports• Helpful feedback on ideas (CW, useful resources, where they publish software, do they use cloud, feedback for Fellow programme, help they need for funding proposals, authored some guides, most popular blog post IPython)• New visitors to the website (~1800 unique visitors)• Recruitment of one of the Agents as Staff member• Opportunity to talk at PyCon UK• Promotion of SSI at BGI• Aiding Agents recruitment• Identification of a key project where SSI could help (they would like a review of architecture post release of v2 aka EpiCollect+) Software Sustainability Institute
    9. 9. 2013/14 Fellows programme www.software.ac.uk• 123 applicants, 27 shortlisted  Internal and external reviewers (including at least one academic)  Face to face and online selection meetings• 15 Fellows announced in November 2012  Passion, time, interesting research, clarity, understanding SSI were all factors Software Sustainability Institute
    10. 10. Early Early mid mid Early mid www.software.ac.uk Alex Chartier, Richard Caitlin Bentley, Mike Croucher, Adam Crymble, Nick Pearce, ionosphere Abel, 3D International Mathematical Digital Sociology & forecasting imaging development software humanities Anthropology techniques Early Early Early Early midJames Hetherington, Cefn Hoile, Kayla Iacovino, Stephan Lautenschlager, ‘Research software Allen Pope, http://shrimping.it Volcanology virtual paleontology Glaciology engineer’ mid mid Early mid Anna Powell-Smith, Barry Rowlingson, Melody Sandells, snow physics Robin Wilson,Freelance http://anna.ps. spatial epidemiology Sustainability Institute Software satellite imaging
    11. 11. Fellows Facts www.software.ac.uk• Areas covered (imperfect clustering)  Medical: 3D imaging techniques, Epidemiology  ICT: physical computing in education  Environmental: volcanology, virtual paleontology, glaciology, snow physics, space weather, satellite imaging  Computational support: ‘research software developers’ x2  Information applications: international development, data visualisation  Humanities: textual classification, sociology & anthropology• Career stage (8 early, 7 mid)• Gender (4F, 11M)• Reminder: Chosen on commitment and passion over domain  Although important domains and interesting domains were factors Software Sustainability Institute
    12. 12. What makes a good recruit www.software.ac.uk• Enough time for the win-win; activities beneficial to themselves and the objectives of the SSI-• enthusiastic, motivated and wanting to make an impact in their area• active and engaged in their own area, with a track record of generating ideas• a good communicator, able to talk about their work and understand others work• a willing advocate of research software best practice• able to act as a conduit and information source into their community• Demonstrate some common ground between their works and interest and those of the Institute• Important or interesting research domain Software Sustainability Institute
    13. 13. Representative set www.software.ac.uk• We don’t• Go for important/interesting science• And people with energy• …. It is a target rich environment – lots of good people to help and then inspire others Software Sustainability Institute
    14. 14. What does a Fellow do www.software.ac.uk• Attend conferences  What software used in a domain, important software enabled research in their domains, giving us data on any surveys they have done, promoting the SSI and it’s message – esp. the themes (e.g. reproducible research), giving us the specific names of contacts we can help, blogging about the conference, tweeting• Running capability building workshop  Software Carpentry at their sites  Running training courses in their own software for use in their domains preparing with SSI best practice (e.g. SES - http://www.software.ac.uk/online-sustainability-evaluation )• Policy work  Attending policy relevant workshops Software Sustainability Institute
    15. 15. Serendipity www.software.ac.uk• Attending our advisory board  Making EPSRC happy• Attending a Train the Trainers workshop for a new EU wide programme  Influence for them, expertise for us• Being able to make existing money go further  A trip to Oz• Discussions on feedback useful (catalogue of visualisation tools for researchers, blogging about how people integrate such tools into their science)  Even though they cancelled going• 8 showed a strong interest in authoring a ‘Software in your domain’ to aid insiders and to give outsiders a view in  Likely focus of Fellows 6-monthly meeting• Asking for material to promote SSI at events they normally attend and not funded by us• Joining funds together to be able to run a bigger workshop where there is some domain overlap Software Sustainability Institute
    16. 16. How we ok funds www.software.ac.uk• Request (a month before at the latest)• Review by Fellows Management team• Either approve, ask for clarification, deny• Once event completed, report received and then claim processed. Software Sustainability Institute
    17. 17. Challenges www.software.ac.uk• I am out of the country | I have a lecture to train people going on a field trip; Iwon’t be able to make the meeting which is part of my terms and conditions.• Just getting on the plane … will you pay for my trip ?• Can you pay for my friend to give a few hours of training to my team ?• Can you buy some software for me to help me with my research ?• I have to move abroad can I still be a Fellow ? Software Sustainability Institute
    18. 18. Benefits www.software.ac.uk• For the Institute:  Sanity check – are we doing the right thing  Highlight opportunities; casting the net wider  Credibility  Identification of project most likely to benefit with help  Behavioral change; real benefit others likely to take heed.For the Fellows:  Money to attend events  Arrange events  Higher profile  More contacts  Ideas from their peer group Software Sustainability Institute
    19. 19. Outputs and Outcomes www.software.ac.uk Software Sustainability Institute
    20. 20. Forever Fellows www.software.ac.uk• For successful Fellows• Something for the CV• Discount/Free attendance at SSI Events e.g. CW• Still do work in the name of SSI (with prior checking)• Still have their voice heard• Allow us to pass ideas/leads by them• 1 or 2 Fellows worth of cash for them to bid into• Maintain contact in case we would like them to go to an event Software Sustainability Institute
    21. 21. Recommendations www.software.ac.uk• Clear about type of person you want• Be rigorous but fair at selection• Magnanimous after that (but polite and firm if needed)• Clear guidelines and suggestions• Good rapport• Chasing expenses for them• Quick turn around on requests (e.g. we are working on the decisions)• Get them together early to bond as a group and let them know that ideas are welcome and give them a forum to discuss (e.g. mailing group)• Help them with your network• Ask them to help you with their network• Don’t be afraid to ask them to do stuff you think they might be interested in• Manage them as individuals• Help create a group feeling Software Sustainability Institute
    22. 22. Future Challenges www.software.ac.uk• Running the Fellows programme adaptively• Recruiting new Fellows• Making best use of Fellows – win-win and not taking up too much time• Cross network challenges• Integrating Fellows Forever• Maximising outputs from event reports• Setup takes some effort; running it actively is where the benefits are realised.  If they see their contributions helping they will be more motivated to contribute Software Sustainability Institute
    23. 23. Questions www.software.ac.uk• ? Software Sustainability Institute