The Rise of a New Digital Third Space Professional in Higher Education: Recognising Research Software Engineering

03/01/2021
by   Shoaib Sufi, et al.
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Research Software Engineering is the application of professional software skills to research problems. Those who do this are called Research Software Engineers or RSEs for short. RSEs work closely with researchers in a collaborative fashion rather than just offering a standalone function (c.f. the traditional IT workforce or Librarians working to provide a general set of services to the University community such as research, teaching or administrative functions). It is this overlap with academic researchers that make the RSE and the RSE management a new type of third space professional in the higher education sector. We explore aspects of knowledge, relationships, legitimacies and language in relation to the model constructed by Whitchurch in Reconstructing Identities in Higher Education to explore how these relate to the RSE role and go on to highlight open problems that need resolving to put RSEs on a firmer organisational footing.

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