By Simon Hettrick

Deputy Director, Software Sustainability Institute

What! We have to worry about software now?

6 November 2018 - ESRC Festival     @sjh5000      ORCID: 0000-0002-6809-5195

I'm not a social scientist

These slides: bit.ly/2PF6FS8

My skills

Laser

physics

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"How many researchers rely on software?"

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These slides: bit.ly/2PF6FS8

My skills

Laser

physics

Social

science

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"How many researchers rely on software?"

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Use

software

Fundamental to

results

Develop own code

69%

92%

56%

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Percentage of cross-council funding into software-reliant research

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Software in publications

65%

31 UK institutions ~ 600k papers

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Software is rapidly becoming a fundamental research tool

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All good so far...

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of researchers who develop

code have no training

24%

of group leaders looking to commercialise code would not feel comfortable sharing their code

50%

REF 2014 publication submissions

>15,000

REF 2014 software submissions

58

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You can't have reliable results without reliable software

 

You can't reproduce results without access to software

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Researchers can't afford to care while research incentives are against them

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What's the situation in social science?

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Percentage of ESRC funding into

software-reliant research

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Why?

  • Data deluge

  • More use of data not designed for social science

  • Lots of data cleaning and data alignment problems

  • More software techniques, machine-learning, automated data collection, etc

  • Lots of Excel, Stata and SPSS, less OpenRefine, R and Python

  • Training in the traditional tools, but little more advanced training

These slides: bit.ly/2PF6FS8

What do we

need to do?

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Incentivise good software practices

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Incentives

  • Submit software to REF2021!

  • Better assessment of grants that include software development

  • Connecting research outputs to grants that include software development

  • Software management plans

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Make training available

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Growth of carpentry workshops in the UK

Data Carpentry for social science: http://bit.ly/2PeMOda

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Make skills

available

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RSE Groups at

20 organisations

bit.ly/RSEGroupsInUK

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www.rse.ac.uk

Software use is only going to increase

 

And this is a good thing!

 

Expect more pressure to adapt research practices

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Studies

  • Software survey:
    https://www.software.ac.uk/blog/2017-09-06-journey-reproducibility-excel-pandas
     
  • Grants data analysis:
    https://github.com/softwaresaved/software_in_grants_GTR
     
  • Publication analysis coming soon

 

Contact

s.hettrick@software.ac.uk

@sjh5000

ORCID: 0000-0002-6809-5195

Licence

 © Simon Hettrick 

These slides are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International 

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Thanks

Peter Smyth and Aleksandra Nenadic

These slides: bit.ly/2PF6FS8

What! We have to worry about software now?

By Simon Hettrick

What! We have to worry about software now?

Presentation on software prevalence in research and discussion of barriers and incentives

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