Software Survivability: Strategies for Long-Lasting and Usable Research Software

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    Sustainability in the Tapis Framework
    ( 2021-01-05) Stubbs, Joe ; Cardone, Richard ; Cleveland, Sean ; Jacobs, Gwen ; Packard, Michael ; Jamthe, Anagha ; Padhy, Smruti ; Black, Steve ; Terry, Steve ; Looney, Julia ; Meiring, Joseph ; Dahan, Maytal
    As more research depends fundamentally on software, sustainability becomes increasingly critical. Nevertheless, despite valiant efforts from a growing number of researchers and practitioners, a basic understanding of best-practices for sustainable software remains elusive. In this paper, we review the specific practices and strategies that have helped to sustain Tapis, a cyberinfastructure project that has been in use for over a decade. The Tapis framework is an open-source, software-as-a-service Application Programming Interface (API) for collaborative, automated, reproducible computational research which began as the Foundation API for the iPlant Collaborative Project in 2008, and today is used by tens of thousands of individuals across more than a dozen active projects. This paper describes our multi-faceted approach to sustaining an increasingly complex ecosystem of software, documentation and other digital assets, including both technical and organizational strategies for minimizing the cost of sustainment while maximizing available resources for sustainment activities.
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    Research Software Sustainability: Lessons Learned at NCSA
    ( 2021-01-05) Katz, Daniel S. ; McHenry, Kenton ; Lee, Jong S.
    This paper discusses why research software is important, and what sustainability means in this context. It then talks about how research software sustainability can be achieved, and what our experiences at NCSA have been using specific examples, what we have learned from this, and how we think these lessons can help others.
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    A Behavioral Approach to Understanding the Git Experience
    ( 2021-01-05) Milliken, Genevieve ; Nguyen, Sarah ; Steeves, Vicky
    The Investigating and Archiving the Scholarly Git Experience (IASGE) project is multi-track study focused on understanding the uses of Git by students, faculty, and staff working in academic research institutions as well as the ways source code repositories and their associated contextual ephemera can be better preserved. This research, in turn, has implications regarding how to support Git in the scholarly process, how version control systems contribute to reproducibility, and how Library and Information Science (LIS) professionals can support Git through instruction and sustainability efforts. In this paper, we focus on a subset of our larger project and take a deep look at what code hosting platforms offer researchers in terms of productivity and collaboration. For this portion, a survey, focus groups, and user experience interviews were conducted to gain an understanding of how and why scholarly researchers use Version Control Systems (VCS) as well as some of the pain points in learning and using VCS for daily work.
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