Research Software Engineering: it's obviously about software, right? It could be, but I believe we can adopt a broader viewpoint. We have all heard countless times about the systematic factors affecting inequality in science, but how much does access to computing, or computing training, contribute to this? In this talk, I will first outline some factors contributing to inequality of computing which I have noticed after years of supporting researchers. I will relate this to the services which can be provided by RSEs, and present a vision for addressing this by developing our own skills and promoting RSE services to our institutions.
Perhaps getting sympathy from more traditional professionals in academia might not be easy because the RSE career path is not nearly (yet?) as "hard-coded" as that for, say, a professor.
Apprenticeship can also happen by reading how others work (read their code, watch their code review, watch the tools they use)
Suggestion: using equality of opportunity for competent knowledge/skill rather than simply saying equality. e.g. we want to achieve equality of opportunity for everyone to be able to acquire knowledge rather than equalizing everyone's knowledge in a certain field.
What is your take on implications of cultural differences on the topic of "supporting equality of opportunity". for example, many of your ideas seem to be easier to apply in a collectivist society as opposed to an individualist society which probably most of the Nordic could be categorized as.
So true! I learned so much when sitting down with a RSE or with a software engineer in their offices. We had really good sessions. The software engineer did not have a background in physics, I did not have a background in computer science. But I think we made a pretty good team learning from each other. No chance to do this in the open space where I had my office.
Re computer skills, I also notice some researchers seem shy to share the code they wrote because they think it's "sloppy". I always try to remind them that programming is a secondary skill to them (as it was for many RSEs)!
Suggestion for a substitude to the "academic vs vocational skills": actionable vs non-actionable skills. The latter creates less stereotypical or stigmatic bias against the academia or likewise against the industry/practice. moreover, actionable and none-actionable skills could occur on both sides, it's just that academia is more prune to it since there is more room for theoretical material.
I do wonder if we should call ourself "engineers" if we don't really have the solid technical skils I associate with an Engineer.
I like the idea of making services fairly available for making/contributing to equality. On the other hand, I have seen some cases that distributing time and efforts of RSEs to one project/researcher could be really time consuming and at some point, researchers/research projects need to buy-out such a service by RSEs. Then the "rich gets richer" happens again. How to tackle this type of problems?
What about publishing code, papers and credits? Should a RSE be included as an author in papers wher he(r) contributions are crucial for the result?
I think some universities are still in the awkward situation that they do not acknowledge the importance of RSE. Would be good to find ways to highlight such importance with the help of the RSE network.
I saw a brief note about gender balance. Like to point out that it is nice when everyone feel welcome and equally participating, not only male and female but also non-binary.