It’s impossible to conduct research without software, say 7 out of 10 UK researchers

This is the the title of a blog post at the UK’s Software Sustainability Institute, which reports the results of a survey conducted amongst 417 UK researchers across many disciplines. This is the most extensive survey of its type conducted to date, and the data are available for download. The key findings, as summarized in the blog post are:

  • 92% of academics use research software
  • 69% say that their research would not be practical without it
  • 56% develop their own software (worryingly, 21% of those have no training in software development
  • 70% of male researchers develop their own software, and only 30% of female researchers do so.

These results are summarized in the graphic below:


The wordle below summarizes the languages used by survey participants (there were a total of 566 packages reported altogether):

ResearchSoftwareSurveyWordle27Nov14 copy

Perhaps the most striking conclusion is that a large number of researchers develop their own software, but relatively few have had software training. One other striking finding is that when asked whether they had included software costs in proposals “22% said that they had, 57% said they had not, and 20% said that they had not even though they knew software development would make up part of the bid!” So while software is crucial to research, it has far to go in being recognized as such by educators and granting agencies.

Based on by Simon Hettrick. The figures are reproduced from this article.

This entry was posted in astroinformatics, Astronomy, cyberinfrastructure, education, informatics, information sharing, programming, Python, R, Scientific computing, social media, social networking, software engineering, software maintenance, software sustainability and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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