Join the Danish RSE network

Recently a group of research software engineers from the Danish universities came together and formed the new cross-university network; Danish RSE.

Having crossed paths on various university collaborations such as Digital Literacy and Digital Curriculum we saw a need to come together and establish a more formel group where experiences and challenges working as a Research Software Engineer could be discussed. Furthermore, we saw a need for a forum for sharing knowledge and solutions and to raise awareness of difficulties within the field.

Peter Vahlstrup, Research Software Engineer, Aarhus University

That led to the establishment of the Danish RSE network. A network open to all Research Engineers from the Danish universities who fit the profile. The focus for now is Humanities and Social Sciences, and the network is supported by Dighumlab. Dighumlab will act as point of contact for RSE’s in Denmark and for other RSE networks in the Nordic countries. The first Danish RSE workshop was held this summer and the plan is to do more workshops and keep in touch using a dedicated Slack channel to communicate about issues specifically related to RSE-issues.

Goals of the Danish RSE

The RSE network aims to foster best practices for RSE units in terms of service, support, teaching and engineering by sharing knowledge and experiences. The recent workshop dealt with issues such as acknowledgement of research software engineering in publications, education and career management. These sessions resulted in the formulation the values and goals of the Danish RSE network.

  • Danish RSE supports and works towards enabling diverse RSE career paths
  • Danish RSE supports and works towards recognition of engineering tasks
  • Danish RSE supports and works towards Open Science and Open Source

One of the major topics of the RSE workshop was that it seems RSE’s across universities are largely regarded as support staff, and the specialised skills of the RSE’s aren’t recognised. As an RSE you need a very high level of technical expertise combined with in dept understanding of research within the field of for instance Humanities and Social Sciences. 

Talented RSE’s are hard to recruit and retain and the Danish RSE network hopes to impact the universities to recognise the value of their RSE’s by enabling diverse career paths to match their skills. And the word diverse is worth noticing, because there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to RSE’s. Some will want a technical position with the possibility of advancement. Others will want to do research themselves and go an entirely different direction.

If you are not interested in becoming a researcher yourself, you are stuck both in terms of salary and recognition on a level that cannot compete with offers in the private sector. And on the other hand if you’re interested in doing research yourself, RSE’s are not necessarily recognised as contributors deserving of co-authorship. We need to ensure recognition equal to that of researchers and establish specialised technical positions that allow RSE’s to have career paths recognising their skills and expertise.

Peter Vahlstrup, Research Software Engineer, Aarhus University

For more information about the Danish RSE network, visit our network page hosted by Dighumlab. Are you a Research Software engineer, from a Danish University, matching the profile we welcome you to join the network. Please email us with your request and we will invite you to join our channel and future workshops.


Digital Humanities Lab Denmark

Aarhus University
Jens Chr. Skous Vej 4
DK-8000 Aarhus C