Vive la differénce - research software engineers


19 - 22 April 2022

Venue: Lorentz Center@Oort

If you are invited or already registered for this workshop, you have received login details by email.

Research software engineering is becoming increasingly essential as the role of research software is becoming at once more critical to scientific discovery, and more difficult to sustain. Research software engineering combines professional software engineering expertise with an intimate understanding of research, and is critical to achieving open science goals. This workshop proposes to consider how research software engineering could be reframed to place DEI as a central organizing principle in research software. This is captured in our inclusion in the workshop title of the French phrase, vive la differénce, which means long live difference. Community involvement is a key element of research software engineering, and broadening the range of contributors will improve scientific and social outcomes. This workshop will bring together a wide range of stakeholders who have not previously collaborated, to analyse best practice and available data to identify both research opportunities and solutions to their own local challenges, to create an informal network of champions in this area.

The workshop aims to:

1.       Address the following research questions:

·       What approaches to repositioning DEI as central to the research software engineering community will prove most promising?

·       Which combinations of social processes and supporting technology show effectiveness in advancing the community of research software engineers workers to direct research toward a future centered on DEI?

2.       Examine both social processes and technological advancements that can be used to place DEI at the heart of research software engineering, with a particular focus on metrics that can be used to incentivise change. The workshop will incorporate sociological models of cultural change that are not often utilised in this community, to identify the conditions that can produce change and that can eventually cause change to be self-sustaining.

3.       Identify how to expedite the culture change needed, by involving DEI agents of change in exchanging best practice, identifying key levers of change in their own communities, planning next steps and expanding their networks. Supporting change agents is a key part of the workshop aims, as large-scale system evolution depends on multiple incremental changes – led by people.

4.       Connect efforts on improving DEI in research software engineering with similar efforts in the open source software community.

5.       Bring together representatives of the increasing array of different types of organisations and initiatives in this space, as enabling more alignment and networks between these has the potential to create the critical mass needed for some outcomes. These will include national RSE associations; DEI initiatives in RSE/data science; open source software; and industry.



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