Metrics for Measuring the Contributions of Research Software Engineers

Dr Manodeep Sinha1, Mr Justin Baker2, Mr  Nick May, Ms Nooriyah Lohani3, Dr Rebecca Lange4, Ms Heidi Perrett5

1Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing, Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia, 2CSIRO, Melbourne, Australia, 3New Zealand eScience Infrastructure, New Zealand, 4Curtin University, Bentley, Australia, 5CERES, Brisbane, Australia

Abstract

“A Research Software Engineer (RSE) combines professional software engineering expertise with an intimate understanding of research.” (https://society-rse.org/about/ )

There is an increasing awareness of the value RSEs provide to the research community. RSE communities themselves are growing rapidly both within Australia & New Zealand and internationally. Many research-based organisations are working towards having the RSE role recognised and defined as a career path in its own right. However, the multifaceted nature of the role makes it a complicated task to capture the various kinds of RSE contributions.

Does it make sense to attach metrics to a complex role like the RSE, and if so, what should such metrics encompass? Consider the following list, which highlights a subset of the diverse range of skills, services, and capabilities common to many RSEs:

  • Science domain/computational knowledge
  • Training and outreach
  • Best practice software development and methodologies
  • Mentoring
  • Adherence to software and data standards
  • Knowledge about domain-specific as well as general-purpose software tools
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data analytics and visualisation
  • Publication support for supplementary software/data

In this BoF, moderated by members of the RSE-AUNZ Steering Committee, we would like to better understand and quantify the contributions of RSEs. We encourage all members of the RSE community and other interested stakeholders to attend and help identify the various facets of RSE contributions and suitable metrics.


Biography

Dr. Manodeep Sinha is a computational astrophysicist based at the Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing at Swinburne University, Melbourne.  Dr. Sinha works at the intersection of astrophysics, statistics, high-performance computing and software engineering.

Mr Justin Baker is Leader of the Scientific Computing Data Analytics and VisualisationTeam at CSIRO

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Date

Jul 08 2021

Time

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm