May 2021 Newsletter

1 May 2021 12:00

University of Sheffield Research Software Engineering Team Newsletter May 2021

Hi everyone!

I wrote the introduction to our first newsletter slightly less than a year ago - this is our twelfth monthly newsletter. You may fire off a party popper, if it’s safe to do so. I’m in the middle of helping the RSE team’s Anna Krystalli deliver a four day training course on reproducible research using R to people beginning PhDs with the ACCE DTP. We’d love to bring this to more people and offer the option of a Python version in future.

Another big thing this month…

Hidden REF closes on the 14th May - our David Wilby has done a tight blog post on this. To my shame, I’ve not yet submitted anything to this excellent channel for recognising research contributions beyond papers, capturing work done by a diverse range of people and roles of real value inside or outside academia. Please consider a submission.

All the best for May!


To receive this newsletter as an email each month, please sign up to our Google Group. Tell you friends!

All times are BST (UTC+01)


Announcing the 2021 Software Sustainability Institute Fellows SSI announces its 2021 fellows.

Fortran Package Manager A new FORTRAN package manager release - apparently this is big news in the FORTRAN community!

Future events

Python for the Humanities

10-11 May

Registration is closed :(

This two-part course will see participants learn the basics of the Python language before using these skills on Humanities projects rather than more generic programming examples.

Lunch bytes: Putting the R into Reproducible Research

12 May 2021 - 12:00-13:00

R and its ecosystem of packages offers a wide variety of statistical and graphical techniques and is increasing in popularity as the tool of choice for data analysis in academia. In addition to its powerful analytical features, the R ecosystem provides a large number of tools and conventions to help support more open, robust and reproducible research. This includes tools for managing research projects, building robust analysis workflows, documenting data and code, testing code and disseminating and sharing analyses. In this talk we’ll take a whistle-stop tour of the breadth of available tools, demonstrating the ways R and the Rstudio integrated development environment can be used to underpin more open reproducible research and facilitate best practice

Lunch bytes: Clinical Research Software

9 June 2021 - 12:00-13:00

Short talks on how University of Sheffield researchers and RSEs, and collaborators worldwide, are using REDCap and other platforms to handle clinical research data. The clinical research we will focus on here relates gathering data on people (e.g. evaluating interventions) rather than more fundamental laboratory research.

Graphical User Interfaces for Research Software

Next running 22nd-24th June 2021

Research software has been a driving force behind the birth and rapid growth of informatics, but it was the appearance of graphical user interfaces (GUI) in the 1980s that made computers accessible to everyone.


July 12 - 18th

SciPy 2021, the 20th annual Scientific Computing with Python Conference will be a virtual conference July 12-18. SciPy® is a community dedicated to the advancement of scientific computing through open source Python software for mathematics, science, and engineering. The annual SciPy Conference allows participants from all types of organizations to showcase their latest projects, learn from skilled users and developers, and collaborate on code development. The full program will consist of two days of tutorials followed by three days of presentations, and concludes with two days of developer sprints on projects of interest to attendees.


ARCHER2 eCSE Programme

The 4th ARCHER2 eCSE call (ARCHER2 eCSE04) opened on the 20 Apr 2021. The deadline for submitting documents for technical evaluations is 16:00 on 18 May 2021, with the final deadline for proposal submission being 16:00 on 08 Jun 2021.

Through a series of regular calls, Embedded CSE (eCSE) support provides funding to the ARCHER2 user community to develop software in a sustainable manner to improve research on the ARCHER2 service. The funding allows the employment of a Research Software Engineer (RSE) to carry out software development of ARCHER2 software. This development work may include the implementation of algorithmic improvements, improvements to scalability, portability, sustainability or maintainability, or may include the addition of new functionality to a code which in turn will allow new science to be carried out.

Submissions open for a PeerJ special issue on software

Submission deadline: July 16th, 2021

Submit now to this PeerJ Computer Science Special Issue investigating the importance of - and best practice for - citing, indexing, and discovering software used as a scholarly research tool.

Web and Blogs

The Hidden REF Find out more from an RSE perspective.

Software is part of research and research software engineers should be part of how it is assessed Paul makes the case for RSEs to be more involved in review.

Blog: On the Importance of Software to Research former team member Mike Croucher discusses this important topic.

Using git cherry-pick to split up a branch (video) Bob did a vlog - it’s had 23,000,000 views. Sorry, 23. Can we make it 24? It’ll be useful information when you need it!

Simulate the world and Everything in it with FLAME GPU 2 Never to be outdone, Paul and the FLAME team also have a video. Do they make good on their ambitious title. 28 viewers say “maybe”. If you’re looking for an agent-based modelling framework - check it.

Major CodeCov security issue A lot of us have been spending time trying to fix this in our Continuous Integration (CI) this month. In retrospect, downloading and executing a script without looking at it is maybe not a great plan. But there has to be trust at some point.

Introduction to PyKale, a library for knowledge-aware machine learning from multiple sources The PyKale team introduces its new software!

GUIs for research software: Why are they relevant? Slides and recording.

RSE Sheffield’s Services

The RSE Sheffield team aims to collaborate with you to help improve your research software. We can provide dedicated staff to ensure that you can deliver excellent research software engineering on your research projects.

The RSE Sheffield team provides free Code Clinics (in collaboration with IT Services), plus paid services that allow us to collaborate longer term.

Contact Us

For queries relating to collaborating with the RSE team on projects:

Information and access to JADE II and Bede.

Join our mailing list so as to be notified when we advertise talks and workshops by subscribing to this Google Group.

Queries regarding free research computing support/guidance should be raised via our Code clinic or directed to the University IT helpdesk.