Enabling collaborative work on scientific software through accessible, user-focused version control tutorials
Version control is an essential tool for collaborative work on software, but domain scientists lack the knowledge they need to contribute to these efforts. There are often only a handful of developers who have the skills needed to work collaboratively on software and this limits the sustainability of software efforts that are increasingly crucial to their communities. Existing version control training materials focus either on the underlying theory or a comprehensive overview of version control. Such material can be inaccessible to new developers if they cannot identify what information is applicable to their specific problem.
Amy is developing accessible, user-focused tutorials on version control that give scientists the information they need to contribute to shared software. The version control tutorials will center around common user stories and directly address how a scientist should interact with version control to work collaboratively in common science scenarios. Art that illustrates broader ideas will be commissioned and tested along with the tutorials to help new users translate everyday concepts into the equivalent version control terminology.
Amy is an assistant professor of physics at the University of Colorado Denver where she leads a research group focused on dark matter detection. She searches for dark matter signals and works to build accessible computing ecosystems. Amy also serves as an editor for the Journal of Open Source Software and believes that complete, usable software infrastructure — together with accessible training and documentation — are necessary for a successful and equitable scientific community.