Fundamentals of Software Sustainability

Daniel S. Katz (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) • October 22, 2018

(reposted from Daniel S. Katz’s blog This blog post is intended as companion text for a talk I gave at the September 2018 NumFOCUS Project Forum in in New York, though I also hope it stands on its own. To address software sustainability, it is important first to understand how the term sustainability is used more generally. It’s most often used in the context of ecology, often specifically in the relationship between humans and the planet.

CiteAs.org: Discovering and Improving software requests for citation

James Howison (University of Texas at Austin), Heather Piwowar and Jason Priem (Impact Story) • October 1, 2018

CiteAs.org links between pieces of software and their requested citations. It enables moving from the name of a piece of software, its webpage URL, or a DOI, directly to the machine-readable metadata (e.g., BibTex, Zotero auto-import) for the citation the author of the software package wants you to use. CiteAs.org is funded by the Digital Science program at the Sloan Foundation (Grant Number 8028), and conceived and developed by Heather Piwowar and Jason Priem at ImpactStory, together with James Howison from the Information School at the University of Texas at Austin.

Software Support for Socio-Environmental Synthesis

Mary Shelley (Director of IT, Univ. of Maryland School of Public Health; formerly Associate Director of Synthesis at SESYNC) • September 24, 2018

What do sociologists, ecologists, economists, engineers, anthropologists, geographers, hydrologists, evolutionary biologists, and environmental scientists all have in common? Software! Science at the intersection of humans and the environment increasingly requires collaborative, interdisciplinary work among researchers with varied computing backgrounds to gather insights from highly diverse data at multiple scales. Reliable software is necessary to achieving this synthesis. At the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), we provide cyberinfrastructure support oriented toward helping researchers choose, apply, and develop software to meet the research needs of the 40+ interdisciplinary projects we support at any given time.

Through demand, not lobbying: the emergence of an RSE career path

Simon Hettrick (Software Sustainability Institute) • September 17, 2018

When I first started thinking about how we could create a career path for Research Software Engineers (RSEs) in academia, I assumed it would involve persuading university managers to implement a new career path. Quite frankly, I wasn’t looking forward to the interminable bureaucracy that such a change would require me to navigate. Fortunately, a completely different solution quickly gained traction in the UK: the rise of RSE Groups. An RSE Group is a centralized group, based at a university or other research organization, that employs a number of RSEs and then hires them out to researchers across the organization.

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