The Science Gateway Community Institute's Consulting Services Program: Lessons for Research Software Engineering Organizations

by   Marlon Pierce, et al.

The Science Gateways Community Institute (SGCI) is an NSF Software Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation (S2I2) funded project that leads and supports the science gateway community. Major activities for SGCI include a) sustainability training, including the Focus Week week-long course designed to help science gateway operators develop sustainability plans, and the Jumpstart virtual short-course; b) usability and user experience consulting; c) a community catalog of science gateways and science gateway software; d) workforce development activities, including a coding institute for students, internship opportunities, and hackathons; e) an annual conference; and f) in-depth technical support for client gateway projects. The goals of SGCI's Embedded Technical Support component are to help the institute's clients to create new science gateways or to significantly enhance existing science gateways. Examples of the latter include helping to implement major new capabilities and to implement significant usability improvements suggested by SGCI's usability consultants. The Embedded Technical Support component was managed by Indiana University and involved research software engineers at San Diego Supercomputer Center, Texas Advanced Computing Center, Indiana University, and Purdue University (through 2019). Since 2016, the component has involved 20 research software engineers as consultants and has conducted 59 client consultations. This short paper provides a summary of lessons learned from the Embedded Technical Support program that may be useful for the research software engineering community.


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