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The Fourth Conference of Research Software Engineering was held at the University of Birmingham.

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Tuesday, September 17 • 13:30 - 14:10
#2C1 - Policy and Culture - Software development best practices - Why aren’t we implementing them?

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Software developer guidelines have been around for a while now. Many groups and communities have created custom guidelines and teaching has increased throughout all disciplines, with dedicated projects leading the mission to encourage uptake. Nevertheless, adoption is slow.
In most cases, research projects produce prototypes or demonstrators. In the quest to create and innovate new tools and solutions, software quality is often overlooked. This causes a cemetery of research software produced through grants that never reached a state of technological stability and quality that enables reuse and reproducibility.
At the same time, awareness of existing best practices and quality criteria is rising throughout the community, with limited uptake for many practices. This discrepancy is being felt by the panellists in various positions.
The aim of the panel if to identify reasons for this and sketch possible scenarios to change this status quo. It is becoming more and more clear that only by recognising and crediting software as a dedicated research product as well as defining and enforcing requirements any change is possible. These aspects need to be implemented from the individual level up to enforcement by policy makers and funders.
The panel consists of
  • Anna Krystalli, University of Sheffield
  • Lucy Whalley, Imperial College London
  • Tobias Schlauch, German Aerospace Center (DLR)
  • Radovan Bast, University of Tromsø
  • Stephan Druskat, German Aerospace Center (DLR) (Scribe)
  • Carsten Thiel, CESSDA ERIC (Chair)
Example questions
  1. There is is no lack of best practice guides – but we seem to struggle implementing them. Why?
    • Is it due to personal interest or competence?
    • Is it more systemic and we miss support & incentives?
  2. Are there differences in adoption between disciplines?
  3. What effects do team culture and organisational structure have on day-to-day work?
  4. How are other best practices enforced, e.g. in experimental disciplines, natural sciences or medicine?

avatar for Anna Krystalli

Anna Krystalli

Research Software Engineer, University of Sheffield
avatar for Stephan Druskat

Stephan Druskat

Doctoral researcher (software engineering), German Aerospace Center (DLR)
I'm a doctoral researcher in the Sustainable Software Engineering Group at the Institute for Software Technology, German Aerospace Center (DLR). In my work, I focus on research software sustainability and software citation. I'm a Special Collaborator of the Software Sustainability... Read More →
avatar for Carsten Thiel

Carsten Thiel

Chief Technical Officer, CESSDA ERIC
At CESSDA, the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives, I am responsible for the technological aspects of our distributed research infrastructure.One of the key challenges CESSDA faces is to ensure that our services are sustainable beyond short-lived grants and resilient... Read More →
avatar for Tobias Schlauch

Tobias Schlauch

Research Software Engineer, German Aerospace Center (DLR)
I am working at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) as a research software engineer. Since 2009, I serve as the representative of the DLR software engineering initiative which aims to improve research software development at DLR. In addition, I regularly support development teams to... Read More →
avatar for Lucy Whalley

Lucy Whalley

PhD candidate, Imperial College London
I'm a PhD candidate in computational materials science, and much of my time is spent writing post-processing scripts to analyse the output of supercomputer calculations (turning numbers --> physics). Before my PhD I taught mathmatics in a variety of contexts: prisons, primary schools... Read More →

Radovan Bast


Tuesday September 17, 2019 13:30 - 14:10 BST
5. Nuffield Building, Room G17 Nuffield Building