Conceptualizing a US Research Software Sustainability Institute

Modern research is inescapably digital, with data and publications most often created, analyzed, and stored electronically, using tools and methods expressed in software. This "research software" is essential to progress in science, engineering, and all other fields, but it is not developed in an efficient or sustainable way. The researchers who develop this software, while well-versed in their discipline, generally do not have sufficient training and understanding of best practices that ease development and maintainability and that encourage sustainability and reproducibility. In response, this project is conceptualizing a US Research Software Sustainability Institute that will validate and address at least three classes of concerns (functioning of the individual and team, the research software, and the research field itself), impacting all software development and maintenance projects across all of NSF. URSSI conceptualization includes workshops and a widely-distributed survey that engages important stakeholder communities to learn about the software they produce and use, and the ways they contemplate sustaining it, following the paths blazed by other successful software institutes.