Building Software, Building Community: Lessons from the Ropensci Project

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Carl Boettiger, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, United States
rOpenSci is a developer collective originally formed in 2011 by graduate students and post-docs from ecology and evolutionary biology to collaborate on building software tools to facilitate a more open and synthetic approach in the face of transformative rise of large and heterogeneous data. Born on the internet (the collective only began through chance discussions over social media), we have grown into a widely recognized effort that supports an ecosystem of some 45
software packages, engages scores of collaborators, has taught dozens of workshops around the world, and has secured over $480,000 in grant support. As young scientists working in an academic context largely without direct support for our efforts, we have first hand experience with most of the the technical and social challenges in developing sustainable scientific software. I will summarize our experiences, the challenges we have faced, and describe our approach and success
 in building an effective and diverse community around the rOpenSci project.