We are excited to launch the first National Agenda for Research Software in Australia.
Research software is essential to research. The 2014 UK Research Software Survey found that more than 90% of researchers acknowledged software as being important for their own research, and about 70% of researchers said that their research would not be possible without software.
Data generation, handling and analysis almost always involves software. Findings from the 2018 OECD International Survey of Scientific Authors (ISSA2) included evidence that research software is made across all fields of research, with an average of 33% of research resulting in new code.
Despite research software being essential and common across all fields of research, it is often invisible - it’s produced quickly within a funding window, and struggles to be maintained beyond that.
“The vision for the National Agenda for Research Software is to have research software recognised as a first-class output of research,” said Dr Tom Honeyman, who is leading the ARDC’s research software program.
“Together with the Australian research community, we can make this vision a reality through concerted, coordinated action to see, shape and sustain research software.”
“Research software that is seen, shaped and sustained could have immense benefits to Australian research. It will ensure research reproducibility, accelerate research, and recognise and retain the research software creators and maintainers who are vital to modern research.”
We Consulted With Hundreds to Form the Agenda
Following the release of the draft Agenda in June 2021, the ARDC shared it with hundreds of people in Australia and overseas who create or maintain research software, and those that lead them. It has been downloaded over 800 times and read by over 1400 people. Our team met with dozens of academics, research software developers, research assistants, eResearch centres, national research institutes and research facilities to hear their thoughts on the draft agenda, and how it could lead to better recognition of this vital research output.
“Based on the feedback we received, we’ve made the agenda clearer, shorter, and highlighted what each of us can do to work towards recognition of research software. It is now framed around 3 challenges we need to address so we can elevate research software as a first class output of research,” said Tom.
The Agenda includes calls to action for those involved in research software, calling out the creators, authors and maintainers of research software, those who use it, those who support it, research infrastructure providers and policy makers.
Tom calls for responses to the agenda from the Australian research community and its supporters. “We want to hear from people that this agenda speaks to. We need to work together to elevate research software,” said Tom.
As part of our commitment to address this agenda, the ARDC is running a rolling series of activities under the research software program. Details of concluded and future activities are available via the ARDC website.
The ARDC is funded through the Australian Government National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) to support national digital research infrastructure for Australian researchers.
Written by Jo Savill, ARDC. Reviewed by Dr Tom Honeyman (ARDC), Dr Andrew Treloar (ARDC).