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May 16, 2024

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EVERSE: Building A European Network for Research Software Excellence

May 16, 2024

Research software excellence is crucial for Open Science because it underpins the reliability, efficiency, and accuracy of scientific investigations. High-quality research software ensures that computational experiments can be reproduced and verified by others, which is a foundational principle of Open Science. It also facilitates the seamless sharing and re-use of software across different projects and disciplines, enhancing collaborations and enabling scientists to build on each other's work more effectively. Furthermore, excellence in research software contributes to the credibility of scientific findings, as robust, well-documented, and error-free software reduces the risk of computational errors influencing research outcomes. In essence, research software excellence strengthens research integrity, fosters innovation and collaboration, and accelerates the advancement of knowledge.

Numerous software applications have been developed and deployed across scientific communities. However, their reliability is still questioned in terms of quality, reusability and sustainability. To address these issues, the Horizon-Europe-funded EVERSE project will create a European network dedicated to Research Software Quality, a prototype for a future Virtual Institute for Research Software Excellence.

The main objectives:

1. Create a community-led system to check and improve research software quality, with the help of researchers, software developers, and other stakeholders.

2. Use existing tools to help evaluate and improve research software based on practices across research communities in the five EOSC Science Clusters: ENVRI-FAIR, EOSC-Life, ESCAPE, PANOSC, SSHOC.

3. Build a lasting network of stakeholders across the research communities in the five EOSC Science Clusters to guarantee better access, management, interoperability, and reuse of research software.

4. Contribute towards a cultural change where research software is recognized as an integral part of the scientific process, and the people that contribute to it, from researchers who code to Research Software Engineers, are credited for their efforts.

To do so, EVERSE will deliver the Research Software Quality toolkit (RSQkit), an online resource to gather and curate expertise designed to improve the quality, sustainability, and reusability of research software, promote standardized practices and facilitate career growth for developers. With this toolkit, the European Network of Research Software Quality will foster cross-domain collaboration, emphasize the importance of software in research to ensure contributors receive appropriate recognition, and accelerate innovation by improving research software and code quality.

The EVERSE project promises to be a game-changer in the world of research software and code. By creating a robust framework for research software and code excellence, will foster a sense of community and collaboration among researchers and developers. This ambitious project has secured funding of almost 6.8 million euros and its activities will take place for 36 months (starting from 1/3/24). The consortium, coordinated by the Centre for Research & Technology, Hellas (CERTH), consists of 17 partners coming from 9 countries

The role of OpenAIRE:

As research software is gradually becoming a first-class citizen in scholarly communication, OpenAIRE has the following strategic objectives: 

1. Understanding the role of Research Software Engineers (RSEs) in open science, educating our members on this topic, and developing related training materials.

2. Providing OpenPlato as a training platform, especially for the EOSC EU Node courses, to help RSEs use cloud services for data analysis.

3. Converting the quality aspects of RSE and cluster-developed infrastructure into recommendations for software exchange, which will be included in our OpenAIRE Software Guidelines for the EOSC EU Node and Federation, the OpenAIRE Graph and Validator service.

4. Improving the GraspOS Researcher Profile by adding RSE elements, determining which elements can be part of an open infrastructure, and providing feedback to the COARA working group.

5. Ensuring alignment with the OSTrails project regarding Software Management Plans.

OpenAIRE will leverage our extensive network of National Open Access Desks to contribute to establishing a recognition framework that will reward scientists and trainers for their contributions to research software.

The kick-off meeting for the EVERSE project was held from March 11th to 13th in Thessaloniki, Greece, and online. OpenAIRE representatives, Thanasis Vergoulis (Development and Operation Director), Tassos Stavropoulos (Project Manager), and Stefania Amodeo (Engagement & Training Officer) attended the event. They presented their vision and the respective work plan on behalf of our organization.

Are you interested? Visit EVERSE's official website and stay updated by following EVERSE’s official X account or LinkedIn page.