Support offer #1: Assessment and improvement of Research Software

Context

Software plays a crucial role in academic research, not only as a tool for data analysis but also as a research outcome or result, or even the object of research itself (EOSC Executive Board & EOSC Secretariat, 2020). Therefore, in an Open Science ecosystem, software should receive the same level of attention and recognition as publications and datasets. However, the lack of standardised guidelines and best practices for software development and curation has resulted in challenges for researchers, developers, and other stakeholders in finding, reusing, and reproducing research results. 

It is important for producers of research software to make sure that their software is usable by others. This can be achieved by being well described with metadata and made FAIR.

The ultimate goal of the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) are to increase the transparency, reproducibility, and reusability of research. For this to happen, software needs to be well-described (by metadata), inspectable, documented and appropriately structured so that it can be executed, replicated, built-upon, combined, reinterpreted, reimplemented, and/or used in different settings. The FAIR4RS Principles aim to guide software creators and owners on how to make their software FAIR.

As with the original FAIR Guiding Principles, the FAIR4RS Principles are intended to be aspirational. The application of the FAIR4RS Principles is the responsibility of the owners (who are often the creators) of the research software, not the users. Responsibility can be shared in the long-term with other stewards and the applicability of the principles is the responsibility of the providers of the infrastructure they use to fulfil them, e.g., appropriate repositories and registries. This must be emphasised, as those producing the software are best placed to ensure they provide the necessary information to make their work as FAIR as possible, and get credit for doing so in return. 

We offer two support actions that are designed to enhance the FAIRness and impact of research software:

  • Assessing and improving existing research software using a new extension of F-UJI which implements some of the metrics for automated FAIR software assessment. Successful applicants to this support action will receive 4000 € to support their participation between May-September 2024.

 

  • Implementing the Research Software MetaData (RSMD) guidelines for better archiving, referencing, describing, and citing research software artefacts. Successful applicants to this support action will receive 6000 € to support their participation between May-September 2024.

Applicants may apply to join one or both of the support actions below. 

 

Assessing and improving existing research software using a new extension of F-UJI 

This support action enables participants to pilot an extension of F-UJI that is being developed by EPCC to include the software metrics published in FAIR-IMPACT. The aim of this action is to improve the FAIRness of existing software and to work closely with research software developers from various disciplines who will provide valuable feedback to improve future iterations of the tool and support wider uptake.

Who should apply?

The main aim of this support action is to improve the FAIRness of existing research software. Therefore, this action is suitable for research groups that develop software that is to be shared and used by other research groups. Applicants should be aware that FAIRness should not be confused with software quality assessment. 

Skills needed to participate

  • Applicants should have developed software that is used outside their groups. The number of external users does not matter.
  • Software should have developed in a code repository including both source code and documentation 
  • Ideally, applicants will have developed more than one software repository but this is not essential.
Virtual workshops 

This support action will consist of three virtual workshops. 

  • Introductory workshop (May). In this session, participants will be given an overview of the new version of F-UJI and asked to run a pre-assessment of some of their research software code repositories.

  • Technical wrap-up workshop session (Mid-June). In this workshop, participants will learn how to improve their score and re-run F-UJI to check improvements. This workshop will emphasise bidirectional input from participants on the specific FAIR metrics and tests and user experience of the extension of F-UJI.

  • Post-assessment workshop session: (September). In this wrap-up workshop, participants will share their experiences on the tool's ease of use, the ease and clarity of how the score can be raised by the individual group and the usefulness for their research. This will inform the future development of the tool 

Support providers and mentors 
How much time will this support action require from participants? 

In addition to participation in the three virtual workshops, successful applicants are expected to:

  • Carry out independent work to improve the FAIRness of their software by concentrating on a small set of FAIR software metrics of their choice;
  • Provide feedback on the assessment tool and FAIR software metrics;
  • Engage in the exchange experience & discussion with other participants using the Slack channel provided. 

We anticipate that this will require about 9 days of effort between May and September 2024. 

What FAIR-IMPACT will provide to enable participation?

  • 4000 €  will be provided to support staff time for each participant/small team to participate in this support action. Funds will be paid upon successful completion of the support action. The amount provided is based on the number of days required to participate in the action using a flat daily rate and not the size of the team (i.e., 4000 euros is the maximum award regardless of the team size). 

What do we expect from participants?

  • Active engagement in the virtual workshops plus the required independent work in between the workshops;

  • Engage with their peers throughout the process to share experiences with each other and with mentors;

  • Participation in a mandatory exit interview which will result in a published Implementation Story to share real life experiences in making FAIR a reality;  

  • Participation in follow-up questionnaires and/interviews on progress on the implementation plan.
How many applicants will be supported?  Up to 10 individuals/teams will be supported to participate in this support action.

Start your application!

 

 

Implementing the RSMD guidelines for better archiving, referencing, description and citation of research software  

Applicants to this support action will propose ways to implement the Research Software MetaData (RSMD) guidelines in a practical sense to ensure the creation of FAIR research software. Applicants are free to propose any approach they wish as long as it leads to better archiving, referencing, description and/or citation research software artefacts. Successful applicants will be mentored by software metadata experts through a month-long challenge to implement their proposed approach and will complete it by writing a detailed implementation story to showcase the adoption of the RSMD guidelines.

Who should apply?

Applicants should be involved in creating and/or supporting the creation of research software. 

Skills needed to participate

Applicants should be knowledgeable about software development and/or software metadata mapping creation. Ideally, applicants will have experience of working as part of an Open Science community such as CodeMeta, SciCodes, or the Research Data Alliance.

Virtual workshops 

This support action will consist of four virtual workshops. 

  • Introductory session to provide context and background and to introduce scholarly infrastructures and tools to make Research Software a first class output (May);
  • Introduction to the RSMD guidelines and examples of adoption (May);
  • One day sprint to progress planned implementation activity (June);
  • Post-assessment workshop where the Implementation story will be presented (September).
Support providers and mentors 
  • Morane Gruenpeter, Software Heritage, INRIA
  • Sabrina Grainger, Software Heritage, INRIA
How much time will this support action require from participants? 

In addition to participation in the four virtual workshops, successful applicants are expected to:

  • Carry out independent work to implement one or more aspects of the RSMD guidelines as outlined in their proposal. During this time mentors will offer regular office hours to provide support;
  • Provide feedback on the guidelines and to share their experiences with implementing them;
  • Engage in the exchange experience & discussion with other participants using the Slack channel provided.

We anticipate that this will require about 12 days of effort between May and September 2024.

What FAIR-IMPACT will provide to enable participation?

  • 6000 €  will be provided to support staff time for each participant/small team to participate in this support action. Funds will be paid upon successful completion of the support action. The amount provided is based on the number of days required to participate in the action using a flat daily rate and not the size of the team (i.e., 6000 euros is the maximum award regardless of the team size). 

What do we expect from participants?

  • Active engagement in the virtual workshops plus the required independent work in between the workshops;

  • Engage with their peers throughout the process to share experiences with each other and with mentors;

  • Participation in a mandatory exit interview which will result in a published Implementation Story to share real life experiences in making FAIR a reality;

  • Participation in follow-up questionnaires and/interviews on progress on the implementation plan.
How many applicants will be supported?  Up to 10 individuals/teams will be supported to participate in this support action.

Start your application!

 


 

Supporting materials

 

Timeline for this support action
Introductory webinar 31st January 2024

Call open for applications

9th February 2024  

Deadline for applications

5th April 2024

Selection of applicants

End of April 2024

Applicants informed of decision

May 2024

Expected start date for support actions

May/June 2024


Who can apply? 

This call is open to individuals, groups or organisations from public and private research-performing organisations, including:

  • Research-performing organisations and research infrastructures;  
  • Repositories, data and metadata service providers; 
  • Representatives of national and international level initiatives. 

Applicants must reside and/or work in an EU or Associated Country for the duration of the grant. A key aim for FAIR-IMPACT is to prioritise support for organisations, groups, and/or individuals based in countries or representing domains that are currently less advanced in terms of their FAIR enabling capacity2.

The call is not open to individuals or groups based at any of the FAIR-IMPACT project partner organisations nor to individuals who hold the status of FAIR Champions under FAIR-IMPACT.