In this bi-monthly newsletter, we share recent, current, and planned activities of the US-RSE Association, and related news that we think is of interest to US-RSE members. Newsletters are also available on our website alongside the growing resources and information on the US-RSE Association. A sign-up option for our newsletter is available here.

In this issue:

Updates on Working Groups

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI): The US-RSE DEI Working Group is working to bring the US-RSE community quarterly visits from professionals who have vested interests or who research DEI in the community at large. The inaugural event will take place Thursday March 25, 2021, with Cherri Pancake as speaker (see below for details). Furthermore, we have worked on a mission statement regarding DEI for US-RSE and will open it up soon for comments and publish it afterwards on the website. If you’d like to discuss and/or contribute, please contact us on the #dei-discussion Slack channel or contact Lance Parsons (lparsons@princeton.edu) and we’ll help you get involved.

Website: A working group has formed to review and refresh the us-rse.org website. The group met for the first time in March and is in the early stages of formulating a plan to evaluate and redesign various aspects of the current site, including new ideas for design, organization, and functionality (job board, resources, etc). Anyone interested in contributing is welcome. Head over to the #website channel in the US-RSE Slack to join in the conversation.

Education & Training: Following a community call related to education and training, we have formed a new Education & Training working group. This working group is for those interested in regular discussions about education and training for RSEs, with a goal of developing concrete deliverables. Some items that we consider potential discussion topics for the group include: 1) identification of the types of training RSEs need, 2) gaps in current training offerings, 3) how training requirements may differ across domains, and 4) what role US-RSE can serve (including whether we should create some sort of US-RSE certificate). Our first meeting is April 5 at 1:00pm Eastern. If you are interested in joining, please contact Jeff Carver (either by email or DM in Slack) to be added to the invitation.

Inaugural Event of the DEI Speaker Series

We are honored that Cherri Pancake will kick off our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) speaker series on March 25, 2021. She will present “Can we change the face of computing?” and her perspective as an anthropologist who worked for ten years in Latin America and then pioneered usability work in HPC. She is the past President of the Association for Computing Machinery and Director of the Northwest Alliance for Computational Research. She recently retired as Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and Intel Faculty Fellow at Oregon State University. The event is free and open to anyone interested. Please register here for connection details.

US-RSE Finances and Governance Proposal

To facilitate the growth and maturity of the organization, the US-RSE Steering Committee is planning to create a treasurer role and to have the US-RSE Association become fiscally hosted by the Open Collective Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. These changes would enable us to receive (tax deductible) funds, and spend them on purposes that align with our mission. We invite US-RSE members to review and submit comments on the proposed changes in this Google document. Please make any comments by April 4th.

US-RSE Community Calls

The topic of the March community call was “Changing How Academia views RSEs.” We discussed questions like how different institutions see the role of RSEs in research, how the work of RSEs is being recognized, and career progression and retention. We created a template for a white paper; stay tuned for follow-up activities! The next community call will take place April 8th. You can suggest and vote on topics on GitHub.

International Council of RSE Associations

US-RSE is one of the founding members of the International Council of RSE Associations. Formed during the 2nd International RSE leaders Meeting, the Council provides a forum for leaders from established national and multinational RSE associations to communicate in order to better collaborate on international events, share knowledge and experiences, and resolve issues. The council met for the first time in Jan 2021 and has its third meeting scheduled for next week. Topics currently being discussed involve a coordinated international RSE event for 2021, an international web presence, and the overall Council charter. The Council will be the topic of an upcoming talk at the SORSE finale.

ADSA/US-RSE Career Panel

Last month, in partnership with The Academic Data Science Alliance, we hosted an early career panel: “What do data scientists and research software engineers do in academia?” We heard from data scientists and research software engineers about their career paths, where and how to find these positions, and what to expect when working in these fields. For those who were unable to attend, a recording of the event is available on the US-RSE YouTube channel.

Geosciences Data & Software Help Desk Opportunity

Geoscientists want to improve their data and software practices, but sometimes aren’t sure how. You can help. Please consider volunteering for the upcoming Virtual Data Help Desk to be held during the 2021 European Geosciences Union General Assembly (vEGU21). You do not have to be attending vEGU21 to take part. Resources created for this event can of course be reused for future Data Help Desks - contact megancarter@esipfed.org if you’d like to discuss this opportunity.

Volunteer to be a data or software expert for the upcoming Virtual Data Help Desk to be hosted during the first week of the 2021 European Geosciences Union General Assembly (#vEGU21: Gather Online; 19-23 April 2021). The Data Help Desk, which is a program of the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP), the European Geosciences Union (EGU), the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and their partners, connects researchers with informatics experts familiar with their scientific domain to learn about skills and techniques that will help further their research and make their data and software more open and FAIR. You can volunteer to take part in one or more of the following ways:

  1. Answer earth science data (and software) questions (monitor the platform and answer where you can);
  2. Share a recorded demo (share a brief recorded demo of a tool or resource, ideally <5 min);
  3. Share a one-pager about your tool or resource.

To volunteer, please complete this brief form as soon as possible by 5 April 2021. Even more details on how you can contribute are provided in the Volunteer Guidelines.

The Data Help Desk is happening virtually again after several successful virtual and in-person events at society meetings over the last few years at the AGU Fall Meeting, EGU General Assembly, Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Ocean Sciences Meeting, and more. Don’t miss this chance to help others with data-related and software-related questions and to demo your tool or platform!

Questions? Contact megancarter@esipfed.org.

Interesting Events

Some other events coming up may be of interest to RSEs:

  • SORSE: A Series of Online Research Software Events - an international answer to the COVID-19-induced cancellation of many national RSE conferences, to provide an opportunity for RSEs to develop and grow their skills, build new collaborations and engage with RSEs worldwide. The series will end for now in March, with the final event taking place this Wednesday, March 24, 2021. Join us for a short talk on the new International Council of RSE Associations (which includes US-RSE) and a review of the successful series of RSE events! https://sorse.github.io/programme/
  • Collaborations Workshop 2021 featuring the themes FAIR Research Software, Diversity and Inclusion, and Software Sustainability will take place March 30 - April 1 (in the UK timezone).
  • RDA 17th Plenary (Research Data Alliance) brings together scientists from various research disciplines, RSEs, computer scientists and data scientists. It will take place April 23-25 in different timezones to accommodate a worldwide audience and includes many software-related sessions such as the FAIR4RS Working Group (FAIR for Research Software) or VRE-IG (Virtual Research Environment Interest Group).

Recent Job Postings

These opportunities were recently posted to the RSE Careers page:

Interesting Reads

Items you may have missed on the blog and Slack:

US-RSE Outreach

Do you have a meeting, event, or community that might be interested in hearing more about US-RSE? We are happy to come talk to your group! Send an email to contact@us-rse.org or reach out via @sc on slack.

Get Involved

There are lots of ways to get involved with the US-RSE community. Of course, you can join us on Slack or volunteer for an interview with the RSE Stories podcast. But we’re also looking for ideas and help in many other places. See our list of projects and let us know how you’d like to help. Help with things like the Website Committee, Social Media, and Community Engagement are all needed.