What is rse?
The research software encyclopedia (rse) is a collection of tools and interfaces to support management, query, and understand of research software. The library is intended to create value for the community of research software engineers, namely by providing a tool for management and introspection of research software. The rse is intended for research software engineers, funding bodies, or other invested parties of interest to be able to better qualify and quantify research software engineering work. The rse considers the source code the ultimate source of truth. This means creating namespaces of software repositories (e.g., GitHub, GitLab) and then providing automated ways to parse these repositories to extract metadata, and prompt interested parties to answer questions about the software with respect to it’s qualities and grouping. We want to do this to:
- create a database of research software that is easy to search and discuss
- help evaluate each software repository for a set of criteria
- organize the database entries into a taxonomy of research software
and then to use the criteria and taxonomy to derive a context-specific definition of research software.
How is the rse deployed?
The rse uses the following resources:
- rseng/rseng: serves the taxonomy and criteria
- rseng/software: is a static (flat file) “database” that is updated automatically.
Unlike traditional software databases, the rse and supporting tools are completely hosted and automated without need to manage a server. The rse works by way of regularly scraping known research software databases, and then adding entries to rseng/software. Users are then (also automatically) prompted to answer questions about criteria and taxonomy via social media and chat (not developed yet). Non-traditional use cases for the rse are generating a static web-site of your own research software! See the tutorials section of the criteria and taxonomy site to get started.
How does it work?
After you install rse, you might first want to create a local database, or a folder that has software repositories on the filesystem or a relational database.
$ rse init .
More likely you want to clone an existing research software encyclopedia, to update, annotate, or otherwise interact with.
git clone https://github.com/rseng/software cd software
And then proceed to add, list, update, annotate, etc. See the commands section to get started.
What is a parser?
A parser is a class within the research software encyclopedia that is optimized to parse a specific kind of repository. When you create a local software respository, you are interacting with an Encyclopedia class that acts as a controller for different kinds of uris. However, you can also interact with a parser on it’s own, in the case that you want to do your own analysis of research software outside of the rse software repository structure.
from rse.main.parsers import GitHubParser parser = GitHubParser("github.com/vsoch/salad")
The interactive session means opening up a web interface that shows an interactive table that updates automatically with changed or new tasks via web sockets.
What are intended use cases for rse?
The research sofware encyclopedia is intended to help manage and query a database of research software, and then filter for different use cases or contexts. Example use cases are the following:
- assessing software for popularity or usage
- deriving a custom set based on criteria or place in a taxonomy
- exporting metrics for a custom analysis
- a common interface to multiple sources of software (e.g., export from JoSS)
More specifically, it’s very likely that a definition of research software can vary based on different contexts and use cases. The rse provide a simple method to answer questions, or filter to groups, in order to answer the question “Is it research software?”
Where do I go from here?
A good place to start is the getting started page, which has links for getting started with creating or interacting with a software database, and assessing criteria.