Broadly speaking, the First US-RSE Community Building Workshop has two overarching goals:

  1. Grow the RSE community by establishing and strengthening professional networks of current RSEs and RSE leaders.
  2. Generate material/content for the website that promotes and supports current/future RSEs in alignment with the mission of the US-RSE.

The workshop will have breakout sessions focused on a number of different topics pertinent to the US-RSE community. We’ll be working together to generate content for the website that promotes and supports current/future RSEs in alignment with the mission of the US-RSE Association. We will also plan follow-up activities to grow the community.

One key output will be the generation of community white papers, blog posts, and online resources. These tangible outputs will all be hosted at Each breakout session will be focused on a particular topic (see some initial ideas below) and have a designated leader and/or owner of the output. Most of these breakout sessions, using collaborative content generation (using the SSI’s speed blogs as a model), will lead to documents that will be ~80% completed at the workshop. The “output owner” will be responsible for ensuring the product of the session will be complete and the resulting document posted online within a week after the workshop. We’ll be looking for output owner volunteers prior to the workshop.

This new material will help and support new and existing members of the community, those who don’t identify with RSEs but work with RSEs, those who want to support the RSE role, and those want to understand the profession better.

To target each of the four main components of the US-RSE mission, we anticipate breakout sessions related to:

  1. Advocacy
    • Defining and advancing the RSE career path
    • Documenting the impact RSEs have on research
  2. Resources
    • Case studies of RSEs and RSE groups
    • Documenting RSE-approved best practices, techniques, and technologies
  3. Community
    • What should future workshops cover?
    • What events or activities does the RSE community want?
  4. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
    • How can we build on the efforts of the DEI WG?
    • What additional initiatives can we support?

Specific topics will be decided based on suggestions before and during the workshop by the participants. Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  1. RSE Profiles (Personal history/narrative and type of work, meant to explain RSEs by providing examples)
  2. RSE Groups (how groups are set up, funded, and sustained)
  3. RSE Impact (Projects overview capture impact on research)
  4. RSE best practices (testing)
  5. RSE best practices (tools)
  6. RSE best practices (design)
  7. What are the current and future challenges facing RSEs?
  8. Career path models and promotion
  9. Role of a national US-RSE organization
  10. RSE guidelines
  11. Establishing an RSE group
  12. US-RSE coordination with other organizations and efforts (e.g. URSSI, ReSA, etc.)
  13. US-RSE next steps (conference)
  14. US-RSE next steps (web site & resources)
  15. US-RSE next steps (communication & community)

The specific topics for each breakout session should keep conversations steered away from off-limit topics that are not likely to lead to a conclusion or are not constructive, and we may need to reject some potential topics for this reason. Each session will have a designated chair or session leader and a second person(s) designated as secretary. The session leader will ensure that the sessions stay focused and away from off-limit topics that would derail otherwise useful conversations.

A list of off-limit topics for breakout sessions include: credit models for software contributions, aesthetics (logo, colors, etc), governance, and local chapters of US-RSE. We have identified these topics as occasionally being contentious, or being unlikely to result in consensus or even a productive discussion at this point. The exception to these off-limit topics will only be made in the event that the participants choose to allocate a dedicated breakout session to one of these topics. In that case, discussion will be restricted to only that dedicated session. These ground rules will be established at the beginning of the workshop and reiterated by the session leader of each breakout session.