One of the main goals of useR! 2021 edition was to have a global reach and increase the participation of people from regions and countries that generally have a minor participation in the conference. In this blog post we show you how the Latin American participation was from the point of view of people from the region. Data, data and more data As we are data people, let’s first take a look at some general data.
This year, there were awards for Early Career Researchers (students and postdocs), accessible presentations, and a Spotlight recognition to people behind the wheels of the R community. The Early Career Researchers awards had reviewers that evaluated presenters’ work and, for accessibility, the useR! 2021 Diversity Team reviewed all the presentations. The spotlight mentions were decided by popular vote during the conference. Early Career Awards Outstanding Technical Note: Balint Tamasi.
Do you remember meeting any people with sensory disabilities (e.g., blindness, deafness) at conferences? Have you ever wondered if online conference platforms are accessible for everyone? We talked to Liz Hare, a statistical geneticist who participated in the useR! 2021 organizing team, about conference accessibility. Liz is blind, uses screen reading software, and contributed significantly to the accessibility practices for the conference. We covered her experience with other conferences and their platforms, her accessibility work at useR!
We worked hard to make an inclusive useR! 2021 for our diverse community and the virtual setting of the conference was fundamental in that purpose. We are proud of what we were able to achieve and happy about the lessons learned along the way. As the organizing team, we wrote a correspondence advocating for the continuation of online conferences as means to remove barriers for inclusion and it was recently published in Nature.
What does a Research Software Engineer (RSE) who uses R do? How can we promote RSE career paths? How can we identify and highlight which funders are most research software friendly? How can we increase visibility of RSEs in the R community? Could we develop a podcast on ‘meet the R-engineers’ or collaborate with an existing R podcast? What should a book “Research Software Engineering with R” contain? How do we develop an RSE for R users community?