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NCSA’s Katz Named Steering Committee Chair of Research Software Alliance

ReSA, the Research Software Alliance has named as its inaugural Steering Committee chair Daniel S. Katz, chief scientist at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and Research Associate Professor in Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

ReSA, an international community supported by top global research institutions, with a mission to “bring research software communities together to collaborate on the advancement of research software,” is led by Director Michelle Barker, a former director of Australian software research infrastructure programs.

In addition to Katz, the ReSA Steering committee includes a range of other key influencers in the international research software and open science communities:

  • Juan Bicarregui, Head of the Data Division, Scientific Computing Department, Science and Technology Facilities Council, UK
  • Joris van Eijnatten, General Director of the Netherlands eScience Center
  • Neil Chue Hong, Director, Software Sustainability Institute, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Mark Leggott, Executive Director of Research Data Canada
  • Eva Mendez, Associate Professor, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain
  • Chris Mentzel, Executive Director, Data Sciences, Stanford Data Science Initiative, Stanford University, USA
  • Andrew Treloar, Director, Platforms and Software, Australian Research Data Commons, Australia
  • Lou Woodley, Director, Center for Scientific Collaboration and Community Engagement, US

The vision of the Research Software Alliance (ReSA) is that research software is recognized and valued as a fundamental and vital component of research worldwide. A wide range of research software organizations and programs exist internationally to address the varied challenges in software productivity, quality, reproducibility and sustainability. ReSA aims to coordinate these efforts to leverage investments to achieve the shared long-term goal of research software valued as a fundamental and vital component of research worldwide by:

  • Promoting the prioritization of software as a first-class research output
  • Improving the ecosystem of research software from the technology through to the social structures that support it
  • Influencing decision-makers to value research software and the people who develop it

“I’ve been working on increasing the recognition of research software and its dependence on the people who develop and maintain it for many years,” says Katz, “as this is critical to improving research impacts. For example, 90% of UK researchers acknowledge software as important for their research, and 25% of international research produces new code. Key influencers are beginning to acknowledge this, with ReSA’s work contributing to research software starting to be seen as an equal partner of research data in the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science and the OECD Recommendation on Access to Research Data from Public Funding. There’s also been a fantastic growth in organizations that promote career paths and recognition for Research Software Engineers (RSEs), leading to the development of the International Council of RSE Associations. I co-founded ReSA with Michelle Barker and Neil Chue Hong to enable the strategic coordination needed to maximize the achievement of community-wide goals, so I’m pleased to be able to expand my role in ReSA to help accomplish this, working with our fiscal sponsor, Code for Science & Society.”

In 2020 a ReSA blog identified more than 50 organizations and communities involved with research software, emphasizing the need for a coordinating organization such as ReSA. Michelle Barker says, “it’s fantastic to see ReSA developing as a backbone organization that enables collective impact, facilitating collaboration across multiple stakeholders to lead a synchronized effort to achieve a common goal. A great example is our valuable work co-leading the development of FAIR for research software principles with the Research Data Alliance and FORCE11 (Future of Research Communications and e-Scholarship). This work has now progressed to focus on developing adoption guidelines and supporting early adopters of the newly developed principles, who include key communities like ELIXIR, an intergovernmental organization that unites Europe’s leading life science Institutions from 23 countries in managing and safeguarding the increasing volume of data being generated by publicly funded research, and coordinates, integrates and sustains bioinformatics resources across its member states.”

ReSA sponsors include the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, the Australia Research Data Commons, the Netherlands eScience Center, Research Data Canada, the Software Sustainability Institute, The Carpentries, the University of California-Berkeley, Stanford University, and the University of Illinois.

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