Nordic-RSE online unconference 2022 #NordicRSEunconf

October 18-19, 13:00 - 16:00 CEST (with optional social time)

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This is our second Nordic-RSE unconference, held online October 18-19, 2022, 13:00 - 16:00 CEST (with optional social time). We invite research software engineers and everyone who develops software or tools and are driven by research/engineering in either academia or industry. It is a great opportunity to network, share knowledge and experiences with your peers. We would like this event to be an informal space for exchanging ideas and experiences, learning something new, and networking with people of the same interest group.

Possible topics/formats (or check what we have done last year):

  • Discussion topics: is software, research software community or research software engineer something close to your heart? Come chatting with other enthusiasts!
  • Demonstrations: show us some tools or software that you like
  • Workshop or ReproHacks (max 3 hours in a day)
  • Talks: teach us something new
  • On-going projects: share with others something unfinished and almost working that you would like to get feedback on
  • Something else: is there something you would like to share with others that does not fit any of the previous points? We are looking forward to hearing about it!

How it works

The program of the unconference will consist mainly of your contributions and we encourage you to submit a short abstract for a discussion topic, talk, demonstration, or any other type of program you would like to run beforehand. But we will also collect on-site suggestions for contributions. And of course we will all follow a Code of Conduct.

You can also help us by sharing the announcement with others.


All times are in Central European Time

Tuesday, October 18th

13:00 (CET) Introduction (Luca Ferranti)
  • Welcome and introduction to the unconference format: HackMD, proposing sessions, scheduling (15min)
  • Introduction to Nordic-RSE (15min)
13:30 (CET) Keynote: How do a PhD's skills translate to industry? (Richard Darst)

A long time ago (~2013-2015), I was at some nice talk that explained how skills learned during a doctorate degree could translate to industry skills. There wasn't anything fancy, basically pointing out things like "As a reseacher you need to figure out how solve unknown problems yourself. Guess what, companies too. You have to learn how to communicate by writing papers and giving presentations. Guess what, companies too". Then going deeper into details, how to develop these skills, how to advertise yourself, and so on.

I've mentioned these lessons over the years, but haven't seen anything quite like it (but there must be). While not directly RSE related, I think this is an important lesson for many young researchers and starts them off thinking about non-academic tracks, and once that happens, we can bring their attention to RSE work

13:50 (CET) Break/ free-form conversation
14:20 (CET) Keynote: Research software development in an open science landscape: on reform, co-creation and opportunities for professional establishment (Sanna Isabel Ulfsparre)

As Europe transitions into open science and FAIR research data management, new infrastructures and possibilities for professional development emerge. Sanna Isabel Ulfsparre, librarian at Umeå university library, will talk about policy, trends and tendencies relevant to research software developers who want to further specialise in RSE.

14:40 (CET) Break/ free-form conversation
14:50 (CET) Unconference session 1
  • RSEngineering, FAIR principles and the future of the profession (Matteo Tomasini)

    Sanna Isabel Ulfsparre will give an invited talk about policy, trends and tendencies in the optics of research, in particular with respect to FAIR research principles and open science. While the principles of open science are slowly becoming fundamental in publications and data management, in the future universities and institutions are expected to turn their attention to the production of open software, leading to an increased need of research software engineers. Following her talk, Sanna Isabel would like to lead a discussion / workshop. Matteo will be facilitating the organization of this activity.

  • Digital humanities as a technical career path (Everyone)

    What career paths can digital humanities offer to technical people? Let us discuss it together current status, challenges and perspectives.

16:00 (CET) social time until ~18:00

Wednesday, October 19th

13:00 (CET) Introduction to the day and unconference scheduling
13:10 (CET) Unconference Session 2
  • Software papers and their role in academia (Luca Ferranti)

    Publications are the currency for researchers and number and distribution of publications can often be a tie-breaker for getting fundings, so let's talk about where to publish research software papers.

    A few inputs to start the discussion

    • What are the forums that accept research software papers? There are e.g. JOSS, JORS, ACM transactions on mathematical software, do you know others?
    • What to publish there? When is a research software "good enough" to be published in a journal?
    • How do these journals compare to traditional journals? When should you choose a "traditional" forum and when a software forum, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
    • How are these journals ranked compared to other ones? Some countries (e.g. Finland and Norway) have a ranking system of publication forums. How are these forums ranked? How should they be ranked?
    • Is there enough awareness of these forums? Are all RSEs and researchers aware of these forums and related issues? What can we do to increase awareness (if needed)?
  • Lessons learnt from developing a multi-year RSE project (Ghislain Vaillant)

    Academia is operating on a set of constraints that makes sustained development of durable software particularly challenging, such as limited resources, frequent staff turnover and lack of training. In this presentation, I reflect on the journey of Clinica, a successful neuroimaging software project, which has been in development for 6 years and counting. First born as a side-project used internally at the Aramis Lab, Clinica has become a mature software project developed in the open and fostering a growing community of users. I will share the major lessons we have learnt during this successful journey and touch on various topics such as coding best practices, technical debt and project management. Although Clinica is developed in Python, most takeaways will be transferable to other projects written with a different software stack.

14:20 (CET) Break/ free-form conversation
14:40 (CET) Unconference Session 3
  • Make model validation sexy again (Sunniva Indrehus)

    Code written to simulate real physical systems typically needs to provide an ensemble of input parameters to create a valid simulation. Writing logic for model validation is a repetitive and tedious task that needs to be handled with great care when performed manually.

    This talk will show how the modern software stack can simplify model validation of a traditional finite element method. With the combination of pydantic, docker, and Fast-API we can even make Fortran77 sexy again.

15:50 (CET) Concluding remarks
16:00 (CET) social time until ~18:00