Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The first SciencePAD Workshop @ CERN

“The European Middleware Initiative (EMI) project SciencePAD (Platforms, Applications, Data) is an initiative to investigate how to collect, store and preserve information about software used in scientific research and how to link the information with the contexts in which software is used, that is publications, data analysis, authors and users, organizations, fundings, etc.” – Says Alberto Di Meglio, EMI project director and coordinator of the SciencePAD activities, during his presentation at the workshop held today at CERN.
The presentation not only described the main goals and plans of the SciencePAD initiative but also how to use and contribute to the definition of persistent identifiers. Indeed, a clear and widely used definition of persistent identifiers for all categories of objects is required in order to formalize and manage the relationships.
The current landscape of persistent identifiers, trends and issues with current implementations and policies was featured in all the workshop presentations which run from Black Duck, Olliance Consulting,, and PaNdata, to the UK Software Sustainability Institute and other experts. 
After a brief introduction to Black Duck, Olliance Consulting, and, Bill Weinberg demonstrated the evolution of core open source technologies and communities, highlighting the roles of those organizations and their value to the SciencePAD initiative. “Black Duck helps companies harness the power of open source technologies and methods for faster innovation, greater creativity and improved efficiency. - He said - On the other hand, Olliance Consulting, a division of Black Duck, helps organizations devise open source strategies to drive business and technology objectives, evaluating the maturity of open source software governance practices, developing management policy and processes, and automating these processes, while, a Black Duck web property, is a free, public directory of Free and Open Source Software and the contributors who create and maintain it.”
PaNdata Software (one element of a larger project, PaNdata Open Data Infrastructure, ODI) is a database of software used mainly for data analysis of neutron and photon experiments to provide a complete data infrastructure for laboratories. More than one hundred pieces of software are commonly used in this community for analysing experimental data. Jamie Hall, the project leader and lead developer of the PaNdata Software Catalogue, currently working as a software developer in the Technical Projects group at Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) in Grenoble, explained that PaNdata serves both users and developers. In particular, this project classifies software and helps users to find the right piece of software for their research and encourages developers to become more active in their community through the best practises and tools provided by the portal.
The UK Software Sustainability Institute presented the work that the Institute is doing in the area of identifiers to promote software sustainability and reproducible research. This national facility cultivates world-class research through software and believes that reproducible research is a key principle of doing science properly in the digital age. This is why one of its aims is that its researchers can use the scientific software every time they need and in turn that this software has to be improved and supported also in the future. In particular, Neil Chue Hong, the Director of the Software Sustainability Institute, described the work being done on the Journal of Open Research Software providing many examples from third-parties in the same space.
At the end of the workshop, all the participants had a very interesting and fruitful discussion on how to integrate software information in digital knowledge networks.

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