University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
To collect and support the development of policies that foster sustainable research software
Software has been critical to research for decades, but only in the past handful of years has it become a topic of broad national conversations about the scientific enterprise. Much of this discussion has centered on the difficulties of maintaining research software beyond initial grant funding, especially when funder support has historically focused on new projects rather than maintenance of existing research infrastructure. Unlike instruments, research software is rarely commercialized, and “sustainability” usually relies on persistent, ongoing engagement by developers cross-subsidized by institutions and other grants. As part of a set of connected activities under the banner of the US Research Software Sustainability Institute, this grant funds a project led by Daniel S. Katz at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign to collect and analyze research software sustainability policies across a host of key institutions. Katz’s targets are guidelines, rules, and practices related to research software created by institutions such as universities, laboratories, and industry as well as the funders, professional societies, and publishers that exert strong influence on the norms of scientific practice. Katz will then use the collected policies to answer several important big picture questions about research software sustainability, including characterizing the variation of strategies and institutional structures for the support of research software, the alignment or misalignment of such strategies, and funding sources and opportunities for the maintenance of research software.