Processes and Requirements for Forming US-RSE Working Groups


This document proposes a set of processes and requirements for forming groups within US-RSE. It was produced as part of the first community building workshop.

The Group Management Working Group (GMWG) is a working group responsible for further developing the process proposed here, reviewing proposals for new groups, maintaining lists of active groups, providing newly-established groups with infrastructure, and fostering communication between coordinators, leads, and the Steering Committee. The GMWG also reserves the right to report groups that violate the US-RSE’s Code of Conduct or are no longer aligned with the US-RSE mission to the Steering Committee. The GMWG can be contacted via the #wg-group-management Slack channel. Like other groups, the GMWG will have two co-chairs (stated below) responsible for administering these duties and for reporting to the Steering Committee. Additionally, the GMWG will have a separate Affinity Groups Coordinator, a point of contact for affinity group leaders.

What is a Working Group?

A working group addresses an unmet need or open question broadly across the US-RSE community. Unlike an affinity group, a working group must have a work product, deliverable, or specific goal, such as a report or a task that it performs. A working group may start with a need or problem and may or may not have specifically determined deliverables at the onset, but it should be something the community is large enough to support with a specific goal in mind.

How to Form a New Group

As stated in its definition, a working group should have identified an unmet need or new area of focus to be addressed. There are four requirements for forming a new working group:

  1. Uniqueness. The purpose should not duplicate an existing group.
  2. Two chairs. Members proposing a working group should have identified at least two chairs for the group. The chairs are responsible for ensuring the working group is satisfying its purpose and for providing updates during the Annual Meeting. If a chair leaves the group, they must designate a new chair.
  3. Formal proposal. (Chairs) A formal proposal is submitted via a Google form, to be reviewed by the GMWG. This includes the name, a one-paragraph summary (called the “Working Group Purpose”, which must include how the purpose aligns with the US-RSE mission), the two chairs, and, when possible, a list of interested members. This list can alternatively be provided after describing the group at a community call, which may help identify other members who would like to participate.
  4. Socialize the purpose/need. (GMWG) After the initial proposal, members should describe the working group at a regularly scheduled community call to inform the community and to provide an opportunity for open-ended feedback.

Once the first two requirements are satisfied, the interested US-RSE member should fill out the appropriate webform to complete step 3. This will be reviewed by the GMWG which will then assist the new group to complete step 4.

Process after Forming

New working groups will be:

  • Added to the working groups page on the US-RSE website
    • NOTE: Chairs are expected to create a webpage (in the US-RSE web space) for their working group, to be linked to the main working groups page. You are encouraged to use the template.
    • Webpages can be added/updated by submitting a pull request via GitHub to the US-RSE webpage, e.g.
  • Supplied a:
    • Slack channel
    • Slack user group (ex. @wg-dei)
    • Co-chairs will be added to the @wg-chairs Slack user group and #working-group-chairs Slack channel
    • Google group, which includes an email list
    • Google drive folder
  • Optionally working groups may request as needed:
    • GitHub Team within the US-RSE organization
    • GitHub Repositories within the US-RSE organization

The GMWG will regularly (e.g., once a quarter) meet with group leaders and at least one Steering Committee member to report on the status of the groups, obtain feedback on the group management process, and to foster communication between groups.

Naming Conventions

For consistency and discoverability, short-hand names for groups should follow the convention wg-{something}.

This naming convention should be used consistently wherever possible: Slack groups, Slack tags, Google groups, Google Drive folders, etc. The exception is when referring to the group in written prose, in which case the full name should be used.

Maintaining a Group in Active Status

For a working group to continue to remain active, the following conditions must be met:

  1. The group should meet or communicate regularly (e.g., every other week, monthly, quarterly) and make some progress on their goals.
  2. Regular (at least semi-annual) communication with the GMWG and the Steering Committee (can be done via email, Slack message, semi-annual meeting, etc.).
  3. The two chairs must provide an update at every Annual meeting with the status of work done over the year.


If you have feedback, please contact GMWG via the #wg-group-management Slack channel.