A workshop to inform scientific software engineering in the academy
The workshop will be hosted by UW’s Scientific Software Engineering Center (SSEC), which was recently established as an inaugural center in the Schmidt Futures’ Virtual Institute of Scientific Software (VISS). As SSEC and the other VISS centers embark on this new initiative, we want to acknowledge and learn from the expertise of scholars who have studied scientific software as a social—and sociotechnical—phenomenon. This body of scholarship has probed topics such as: the cultural differences between software engineers and scientists (Segal, 2008); incentives for producing scientific software (Howison & Herbsleb, 2011); the layers of “extra” work entailed in turning bespoke software into community resources (Trainer et al, 2015); the entanglement of data analysis and software testing (Paine & Lee, 2017); the role of software in reproducibility (Stodden et al, 2018); the sustainability of long term scientific software projects (Weber, 2020); and the emergence of “research software engineer” as a professional identity (Sims, 2022). The Scientific Software as Social Practice workshop will convene a small group of experts who have made contributions to this body of scholarship and/or engaged in significant work integrating sociotechnical perspectives into the development of software for scientific research. Our goal is to put that knowledge and expertise into conversation with the questions and visions of those involved in developing the university-based centers that are part of the Virtual Institute of Scientific Software. We plan to do this through a mix of short talks, panel discussions, and interactive sessions.