The project will undertake a one-year community-driven process to develop a strategic plan for the creation and operation of the Institute for Sustainable Earth and Environmental Software (ISEES). The strategic planning process will define a mission for ISEES that spans the creation, interoperability, and sustainability of a compelling suite of software systems that will transform earth and environmental scientific research. The strategic plan will articulate and compare the strengths of various organizational models and activities in terms of their ability to resolve issues that are prevalent in scientific software, such as code complexity and opacity, lack of scalability, lack of openness and interoperability, and lack of formal versioning and management of software evolution for sustainability. In addition, the strategic plan will provide a compelling framework for workforce development, creation of community software frameworks, and community governance of ISEES.
Our diverse research constituency includes earth, life, and environmental scientists and experts from software engineering, computer science, informatics, and library sciences. A series of design workshops that use proven, formal planning and assessment methods will meet in three topical clusters to conceptualize and articulate a grand vision and strategy for how ISEES will transform the software lifecycle and galvanize the research community. A Science Cluster collates and articulates grand challenges within earth observational sciences that focus and drive ISEES’ software activities and define exemplary collaborative science activities that support detailed requirements analysis. A Software Cluster analyzes requirements for scientific software and proposes approaches for ISEES to address these via improvements across the full science software lifecycle. And, a Sustainability and Adoption Cluster examines sustainability and governance challenges, and proposes models for engaging the research community, governing ISEES, and developing an effective workforce that can sustain the portfolio of science software curated through ISEES. Community experts lead each working group and collectively comprise a Steering Committee that synthesizes recommendations, presents these results and gathers feedback at a Town Hall co-located at a major science conference, and combines this with recommendations from an open call for comments on the Internet to create the final Strategic Plan describing the mission, design, and impact of ISEES.