SeptembRSE - University of Sheffield Research Software Survey (2020)

10 September 2021 11:00

Bob Turner from the RSE Team gave a talk at SeptembRSE! Video is now available…

Software is an important part of research and a key research output. We conducted a survey at the University of Sheffield in October 2020, similar to previous surveys conducted nationally and at the University of Southampton, to find out about how software was being used in research.

Our preliminary results indicate that, of 382 respondents, 92% used research software and 65% reported that it was essential to their research. We found 69% of respondents (who responded to the specific question) did not feel they had sufficient training to develop reliable software. We found that while 45% of respondents involved in writing funding applications expected to write software, 40% of these did not request funding for this.

This indicates that there is a need to investigate why respondents feel that they lack training and are not costing software development on funding applications as much as they might. It likely means that a greater availability of training and better communication of the role of the RSE team are needed.

Here, we will report our major findings and our recommendations for the future based on these. We will explain our research methods (and make suggestions for improvements) and how we have used Python-based tools to analyse the data.

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