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Thursday, May 30
Practice and Applications
Open Source and Community
Thu, May 30, 10:30 AM - 12:05 PM
Grand Ballroom J

Getting Involved in Scientific Open Source: Lessons from 7 Years of Growing the ROpenSci Community (305053)

*Karthik Ram, UC Berkeley 

Keywords: data science, community, scientific open source

Scientific open source projects are responsible for enabling many of the major advances in modern science including recent breakthroughs such as the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) project recognized in the 2017 Nobel prize for Physics. However, much of this software ecosystem is developed ad hoc with no regard for sustainable software development practices. This problem is further compounded by the fact that researchers who develop software have little in the way of resources or academic recognition for their efforts. The rOpenSci Project, founded in 2011 with the explicit mission of developing software to support reproducible science, has in recent years undertaken an effort to improve the long-tail of scientific software. The project's primary mission is to promote development and use of high-quality research software in the scientific community and building capacity of software users and developers. rOpenSci’s biggest contribution to improving the state of research software is not just the development and maintenance of critical software tools, but in mentoring domain scientists in good software development practices and fostering a peer-review culture for research software. In this talk I will describe our efforts to improve the state of research software by creating a peer-review system that shares many similarities with the publishing system but also addresses challenges that are unique to software development in research.