June 2017 Carpentries Community Newsletter

Community News

Building Lessons Collaboratively
A group of Software and Data Carpenters are working on a short paper titled "Ten Simple Rules for Collaborative Lesson Development". Community feedback is sought on the first draft (you can also see the work as a PDF). Feel free to supply comments as a pull request or GitHub issue or send an email to collab-lesson at

New Zealand Ramps up Training
Software Carpentry has signed a new, platinum partnership with New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (NeSI) to partner in training researchers. Though a member since 2015, NeSI’s new partnership level will support the delivery of more workshops, increase the number of trained Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry instructors in New Zealand, and strengthen and build local training communities. Read more.

‘Serverless’ Scientific Computing
The potential use of cloud compute services like AWS Lambda, which allows researchers to run code on demand without having to provision their own HPC servers, was raised on the discuss list. Concerns were aired about efficiency, reproducibility and confidentiality, so is ‘serverless’ computing a viable pathway for scientific research? Please jump on this thread to make a contribution. You can join the discuss list here.

Subcommittee Activity

Mentoring Committee
New hosts and co-hosts are still being sought for the Mentoring Committee. If you want to know what it entails, check out the onboarding document. This is a very rewarding way to contribute to Software and Data Carpentry, and to feel more connected to a global community.
The new Community Lead, Belinda Weaver, will be working on connecting mentor/mentee groups over the next few weeks.

Instructor Trainers
A new cohort of instructor trainers will start their training during July. The aim is to have the training completed by September. As our memberships grow, the demand for new instructor trainers increases as well, so that we can meet the needs of our member organizations.

What you may have missed on the blog and mailing lists

Can you learn HPC in a day?
Making the leap from computing on your laptop to sending jobs to a high performance computer (HPC) may be a logical next step for scientists, but it is not necessarily straightforward. Christina Koch (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Ashwin Srinath (Clemson University) and Peter Steinbach from Scionics Computer Innovation have created a draft ‘HPC-in-a-day’ course to help researchers make that transition. Peter customised the course for his local HPC environment, and describes some valuable lessons learned (expert blind spot, anyone?) while teaching the material to researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics.

Steering Committee Updates
Steering committee secretary Rayna Harris plans to keep the community informed about what’s gone on with regular updates. These include posts about the latest Software Carpentry Steering Committee Meeting and the recent SWC/DC merger group meeting.

Merger Talks
In early June, representatives of Software and Data Carpentry met in person to discuss issues such as the leadership structure of the merged organization. Motions were drafted for each organization’s steering committee to consider. A timeline has been developed for the merger process, which should be completed by the start of 2018.

CarpentryCon Update
The organisation of the 2018 CarpentryCon event has passed from Steering Committee members Mateusz Kuzak and Rayna Harris to Fotis Psomopoulos (chair) and Malvika Sharan (secretary). Fotis and Malvika have crafted a draft agenda for CarpentryCon, a bid guide for potential sites keen to host the event, and Fotis has provided an update on the planning, where he shares his vision of what the event might look like. This is definitely an event we will all want to promote and share. Ideas are welcome! A big thank you to Rayna and Mateusz for their leadership on this.

New Hire
Belinda Weaver began work as the new Community Development Lead for Software and Data Carpentry on 19 June. Read about Belinda. She spent her first two days in the job running instructor training with Jonah Duckles at new Software and Data Carpentry member Macquarie University in Sydney. Belinda is keen to hear what community members want her to focus on first. You can tell her via this form.

Physical Access to Sites
Software and Data Carpentry have learned that some host sites have selective criteria that limit physical access to their sites on the basis of nationality. While these criteria may be imposed by the broader security and bureaucratic apparatus at the organization within which the workshop host operates (and are thus beyond their control), such policies can conflict with our mission and core community values of promoting inclusion and access to workshops. When policies exist outside our control, we will be as up-front as possible about any such restrictions when we announce volunteer instructor opportunities. Read more

Instructor Trainer Workshop in Sydney
New trainer and Software Carpentry Executive Director, Jonah Duckles, and Community Development Lead, Belinda Weaver, taught an instructor cohort in Sydney at Macquarie University, a recently joined Member Organization.

Library Carpentry Update
The fledgling Library Carpentry community got a triple boost in May/June with instructor training, a workshop, and a two-day hackathon. Tim Dennis and Belinda Weaver ran instructor training for 28 librarians in Portland in early May. Belinda and Juliane Schneider then taught a Library Carpentry workshop at MIT in Cambridge, MA. Juliane wrote up both these events. Belinda then co-ordinated a Library Carpentry lesson extension/update as part of the Mozilla Global Sprint. An astonishing 107 people (many of them Portland alumni) signed on to work on the materials, which has been described here.

New Trainers
Applications for new trainers to grow our instructor community closed on 14 June. Applications are now being assessed to ensure that the next cohort of trainers are skilled up and ready to teach as soon as possible.

Papers & manuscripts from the community

Greg Wilson has just announced the release of “Good Enough Practices in Scientific Computing” by Greg Wilson, Jennifer Bryan, Karen Cranston, Justin Kitzes, Lex Nederbragt, and Tracy K. Teal. This article complements 2014’s “Best Practices for Scientific Computing” and feedback on it is welcome. Read more.

Job Postings

Data Analytics Specialist
This new leading role represents a unique opportunity to work within New Zealand’s National eScience Infrastructure (NeSI), to design and build data analytics for research teams around the country.

Other places to connect
If you can't get enough Software and Data Carpentry. Here are a few other places to connect with our community. Have something you’d like to have included in the next newsletter, please send it to
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