Are you a Research Software Engineer?

March 18th, 2014 | Categories: programming, Science, Scientific Software | Tags:

Research Software Engineers (RSEs) are the people who develop software in academia: the ones who write code, but not papers. The Software Sustainability Institute (a group of which I am a Fellow) believes that Research Software Engineers lack the recognition and reward they deserve for their contribution to research. A campaign website – with more information – launched last week:

The campaign has had some early successes and has been generating publicity for the cause, but nothing will change unless the Institute can show that a significant number of Research Software Engineers exist.

Hence this post. If you agree with the issues and objectives on the website, please sign up to the mailing list. If you know of any other Research Software Engineers, please pass this post onto them.

  1. March 18th, 2014 at 16:35
    Reply | Quote | #1

    I completely agree with this cause (I would sign if I were in UK).
    BTW, after reading your bio in the Software Sustainability Institute page I think your job is my dream job, I do love research and I do love research software :D

  2. Mike Croucher
    March 18th, 2014 at 17:10
    Reply | Quote | #2

    Thanks Cristóvão, the bio only includes the fun parts of my job–I have to do lots of not-so-fun stuff too. I guess that’s why they pay me though :)

    I must say though, the fun parts are REALLY fun for a math-software geek like me.

  3. blackball
    March 19th, 2014 at 02:51
    Reply | Quote | #3

    Thanks for your blog.
    I have been kinda of *the one who write code, but not papers* for several years. I am really appreciate this work of you.

  4. Mike Croucher
    March 19th, 2014 at 10:32
    Reply | Quote | #4

    I don’t even *write* the code in research — my involvement is usually to improve, maintain or optimize. Some recent examples at –

    I get very little professional recognition for this, and even less academic recognition which I sometimes find depressing.

    If I got named as an author only on projects where I made significant speed-up (let’s say 10 times or more), I’d have my name on 20-50 papers a year!

  5. Lawrence
    March 20th, 2014 at 23:42
    Reply | Quote | #5

    Good luck with this but I suggest not putting a lot of time and effort into it. Almost everyone who writes code gets no recognition so I don’t see why it would be any different in academia. I would like everyone to have recognition for the time and work but for decades I was considered “overhead” which resulted in various outsourcing firms being hired. If you are trying to get recognition that the work that you do cannot be done by outsources then that is even a bigger fight but worthy of a good fight. In Alberta, Canada a sort of professional designation ISP was created but there was only one designation for everyone including sales people, technical people, and managers. It became an old boys club for the managers and sales people to have drinks.

    To me your blog will get you more recognition because it is interesting and informative. Keep up the good work.

  6. Marc
    March 25th, 2014 at 02:30
    Reply | Quote | #6

    If your improvements are significant enough could they be worthy of a copyright or patent? This happens to me in my area a lot. I scale stuff up and in some cases make them a whole lot better. Most of the time my improvements end up in the trade secret realm but I have 4 (with 6 more submitted) patents to my name so it is not that crazy of an idea. Seems like you have enough to write a book or two here alone so just start putting “pen to paper”….

  7. Jess
    April 15th, 2014 at 15:34
    Reply | Quote | #7

    @Mike Croucher

    Mine is much the same. No recognition here either, though I do get the occasional acknowledgement in papers.

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