Surviving the vacuum: A strategy for sustaining software in the absence of RSE teams

2018-09-06T11:24:17Z (GMT) by Stephan Druskat Thomas Krause
The continued foundation of new institutional RSE teams is great, but what if you still don’t have one? Who will ensure your new research software will be sustainable/re-usable after your project money is gone? You! Make your software extensible and use a generic data model. Let infrastructure handle the rest: Most components are available for free, and sustainable enough. Make use of a source code repository platform that can handle code, documentation, and communication between users, contributors and maintainers; pick one that is harvested by Software Heritage. Use a dependency repository to safeguard reproducible builds; make sure it’s the big, default one, and that it’s run from long-lasting funds. Use Zenodo for releases: It is designed to be there for the long run, and gives you a DOI. Student asistants are cheap: Document all the things, so that a capable one will be able to take over maintainership when your funding is gone. Document all the things: For users and developers; all design decisions; all infrastructure and architecture; all workflows; all community documents and processes. Our dedicated research project will do just this, learn about requirements and best practices, and share for RSEs and researcher training.