Policies in Research Organisations for Research Software (PRO4RS)

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08 Jun 2023

Policies in Research Organisations for Research Software (PRO4RS)

Submitted by Michelle Barker

Meeting objectives: 


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This BoF will support the formation of a joint RDA/Research Software Alliance (ReSA) Working Group to support research performing organisations worldwide to develop, align and implement policies on research software, as a key component of FAIR and open science. 

An increasing number of initiatives are focusing on implementation of research software within the context of FAIR and open science. Efforts to align policies from funders, journals, and governments are also in progress. However, there is a significant gap around how research performing organisations can develop and implement policies to help sustainability of software outputs and underpin research quality. 

Research data management policies have been implemented to promote transparency, integrity, preservation, and overall value maximisation of research data in scientific research. Research software policies are closely interconnected to and mutually supportive of research data management policies. Nonetheless research software is fundamentally different from research data, and needs to be treated differently; it should not be seen as simply another type of data. 

This BoF will aim to engage the community in the aims of the proposed Working Group to create a community of stakeholders involved in promoting and/or implementing policy that supports research software at research institution level. To achieve this, outputs will include:

  • Definition of common frameworks for research software policy.

  • Guidelines and case studies to increase adoption of (standardised) policies.

  • Identification of areas where policies are lacking to catalyse efforts.

  • Analysis of how to support policy change in research institutions in practice.

Software policies can cover multiple aspects of management to ensure legal, ethical, and secure use of software, as well as the protection of intellectual property rights, and can discuss how software work is used in hiring, evaluation, and promotion. Another motivation for institutions to develop and use these policies is compliance with funding agency, government, and disciplinary requirements and norms around data and software management. 

Ultimately, by establishing solid policies for research data and software management, institutions can promote good research practices, enhance collaboration, foster reproducibility, and maximise the value and impact of efficient and reliable scientific research.

Meeting agenda: 

00:00 Welcome and introduction to aims of BoF

00:10 Existing initiatives: Research Software Alliance (ReSA) task force on Research institution policies to support research software

00:15 Examples of research institution policies that support research software

00:30 Aims of proposed Working Group

00:40 Group discussion on how to progress this initiative and engage relevant stakeholders

01:20 Summary and next steps

Type of Meeting: 
Working meeting
Short introduction describing any previous activities: 

The proposed Working Group will build on ReSA’s taskforce, Research institution policies to support research software, which is already building a collection of relevant institutional policies, and the Science Europe Task Force on Open Research Software development of recommendations and guidelines for European research performing organisations.

BoF applicant serving as contact person: 
Meeting presenters: 
Michelle Barker (ReSA), Jeremy Cohen, University (Imperial College London), Pedro Hernández Serrano (Maastricht Univ), Daniel S. Katz (Univ of Illinois), Kim Martin (Stellenbosch Univ), Dan Rudmann (Leiden Univ), Hugh Shanahan (RHUL)
Avoid conflict with the following group (1): 
Contact for group (email): 
Driven by RDA Organisational Member: 
Please indicate at least (3) three breakout slots that would suit your meeting.: 
Breakout 1
Breakout 6