Location: School of Computer Science, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

Dates: 1-day workshop on Wednesday 6 September 2017

Immediately preceding and co-located in Manchester with 2nd Conference of Research Software Engineers (RSE Conference) (7-8 September at Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester, UK)

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Progress in scientific research is dependent on the quality and accessibility of research software at all levels. It is critical to address many new challenges related to the development, deployment, maintenance, and sustainability of open-use research software: the software upon which specific research results rely. Open-use software means that the software is widely accessible (whether open source, shareware, or commercial). Research software means that the choice of software is essential to specific research results; using different software could produce different results.

In addition, it is essential that scientists, researchers, and students are able to learn and adopt a new set of software-related skills and methodologies. Established researchers are already acquiring some of these skills, and in particular, a specialized class of software developers is emerging in academic environments who are an integral and embedded part of successful research teams. WSSSPE provides a forum for discussion of these challenges, including both positions and experiences, and a forum for the community to assemble and act.

WSSSPE is an international community-driven organization that promotes sustainable research software by addressing challenges related to the full lifecycle of research software through shared learning and community action. WSSSPE5.1 is the seventh workshop convened since 2015 in an international series that provides opportunities for the community to come together to share experiences and advance practices.

WSSSPE5.1 aims to capture the state of the art in sustainable research software, discuss ongoing efforts to improve it, and identify potential topics to act upon. The workshop will report updates on and evaluations of present efforts from the community, including Working Groups established at past workshops, and suggest and discuss future measures. In order to provide short-term documentation, WSSSPE5.1 will produce a series of speed blogs in addition to the workshop report.

The workshop will include contributions and discussions in two tracks:

Track 1 – “The state of the art in sustainable research software” Track 1 is focused on reports on and evaluations of past and ongoing efforts to create foundations, ecologies and tools for sustainable research software. The idea of this track is to have a look at where we are, what has been done, and what the future of current measures can and should be.

Track 2 – “Towards a sustainable future for research software” Track 2’s goal is to identify new, and revitalise existing, implementable proposals for building a sustainable future for research software. The idea of this track is to explore and discuss possibilities for future measures and provide primers for their implementation.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

    Progress reports

  • Reports from research software sustainability projects (including WSSSPE Working Groups)


  • Developing best practices for developing sustainable software
  • Building regional WSSSPE communities
  • Refactoring/improving legacy scientific software
  • Metrics for the success of scientific software
  • Adaptation of mainstream software practices for scientific software


  • Career paths
  • Incentives in publishing, funding and promotion for better software


  • Training for developing sustainable software
  • Curriculum for software sustainability


  • Making the existing credit and citation ecosystem work better for software
  • Future credit and citation ecosystem
  • Software contributions as a part of application processes
  • Case studies of receiving credit for software contributions

    Software publishing

  • Journals and alternative venues for publishing software
  • Review processes for published software
  • Software discoverability/reuse

    Software reproducibility

  • Requirements in conferences and journals
  • Best practices

    Proposals and case studies

Important dates

  • Submission deadline for all submissions: 10 July 2017 17 July 2017, 23:55 GMT
  • Decisions on submissions announced: 31 July 2017 08 August 2017
  • Submission of camera-ready papers: 22 August 2017
  • WSSSPE5.1: 6 September 2017

Submission types and formats

Lightning talks: a short paper, up to 2 pages, that if accepted can be conveyed in a 5-7 minute talk. Lightning talks may be based on either novel or previously published work.  For Track 1, they should report on implemented projects and proposals in the field of sustainable research software. For Track 2, they can be based on either novel or previously published work, but must contain a core idea, such as a proposal, that will contribute to the discussion in the workshop.

Papers: a longer paper, up to 4 pages, that if accepted can be conveyed in a 10-12 minute talk. Papers may be based on either novel or previously published work. Papers for Track 1 should report the state of the art of an ongoing project in the field of sustainable research software, or evaluate the success of a concluded project or proposal implementation. Papers for Track 2 should present a vision of some aspect of the future of open-use research software, and an outline of potential activities to gather and organize the resources needed to get there, in the form of implementable proposals – new or revisited – for improving the sustainability and quality of today’s research software and/or the experiences of its developers

Track 1 will discuss the presented projects and experiences, with the goal of identifying measures to promote and advance the projects in the future, perhaps based on the reported experiences from other projects. The discussion as well as proposals for the future promotion, planning, development, and execution of some or all of the projects will be documented in speed blogs.

Track 2 will build on the presented proposals and ideas, with the goal of devising the promotion, development, and execution of some or all of them. The discussion as well as a draft implementation plan will be documented in a speed blog for some or all of the proposals.

Submission process

All submissions should be in PDF format.  They should begin with a title, author names and affiliations, a short abstract, then the body of the submission. The title should begin with “Track 1” or “Track 2”, then “Lightning talk:” or “Paper:”.  Submissions should also include a statement of their license, preferably CC-BY-4.0.  Submissions should be made via https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=wssspe51.  WSSSPE5.1 accepted submissions (except presentations of previously published work) are planned to be published by WSSSPE as a special collection (venue to be announced). Authors retain copyright to their work and are free to self-publish their submissions or accepted papers elsewhere in addition.