Twenty-first century discovery relies heavily on software. Whether the software runs on a researcher's laptop or tablet, on a web server in a colleague's laboratory, or on a storage system at an international research facility, research depends on software to create, analyze, and manage data at scales impossible for unassisted human beings. Although most researchers still work in small teams, in standard offices and using standard computers, their work increasingly includes remote computing systems: on campus, on the web, at regional research facilities, and at national and international research computing centers. This research cyberinfrastructure is increasingly complex, so much so that we now need to use computers and software to help us keep track of the computers and software available to us.
This portal serves three communities of individuals: research software users (researchers, educators, students, application developers), research software developers, and research computing operators/integrators who facilitate access to research software. The portal offers features that assist these groups in their software related activities.
- For research software users, we offer features for discovering research software, for providing feedback, and for explaining research needs.
- For research software developers, we offer a registry of research needs, features for advertising software to prospective users and receiving feedback.
- For research computing operators and integrators, we offer the registry of research needs, features for discovering research software, features for advertising the available software and services at a facility, and features for coordinating with other research facilities.
Our vision is to help these three research communities work together efficiently by sharing requirements, plans, activity status, and information about available software. Our strategy has three parts:
- Create a community consensus around software requirements and abilities.
- Facilitate open and transparent software delivery activities.
- Enable sharing and discovery of software and software-based services.
What is research software?
Although this portal uses the shorthand term research software, what we really mean is public research software. Public research software is developed by and for the research community, and it's intentionally designed to be used by many research teams. While private research software—developed by and for individual research teams—is also important, this portal aims to facilitate sharing and use of public research software.
Who is this portal for?
This portal is for the research community. The research community is, first and foremost, researchers, educators, and students. It's also the people who operate and support research computing facilities at the institutional, regional, national, international levels. In fact, much of this portal is for use by these facility operators.
How does this portal work?
The portal manages three kinds of information: research needs, delivery activities, and available software. (See the Life Cycle section.) The Tools section offers a series of tools for viewing, entering, and managing this information. The Communities section presents the tools and information for specific members of the research community.
All members of the research community have something to contribute, and this portal provides ways for you to do so. Researchers, educators, and students can add research needs: descriptions of what you need to be able to do your work. Developers can add information about the software you're creating and what it needs in order to work. Facility administrators can add information about your facilities and the services you offer. Use the Communities section to find the tools and information designed for you.
Can I login to the portal?
Yes! Everyone can login, and you're encouraged to do so. Logging in allows you to use the ratings and comments features of the site to provide feedback, and also unlocks features tailored to specific roles, like research facility administrators.
When you click Login on the main menu, you'll be asked to choose an organization to authenticate with. (Type a few letters of the organization's name to search for it.) First, try your employer or academic institution. More than 2,000 are already listed and available, and using your home institution will be easier for you to remember next time you visit. If your home organization isn't listed, you can choose XSEDE or use the Google or ORCID buttons, all of which allow you to register yourself if you aren't already.
This portal is powered by XSEDE and uses XSEDE's user registry, so the first time you login, you'll be asked to link an XSEDE identity. If you used XSEDE to login or if you've already linked your XSEDE identity, you won't have to do this. If you don't have an XSEDE identity, create one by clicking the Register button.