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The United States Research Software Engineer (US-RSE) Association

Membership and Governance

Date: May 2, 2022

Organizational Mission

The United States Research Software Engineer (US-RSE) Association is an open organization that strives to:

  • provide a coherent professional community in the United States for those who identify as a Research Software Engineer (RSE),
  • advocate for RSE professionals,
  • provide resources to support and advance RSEs and the RSE career path within the United States research ecosystem
  • promote and encourage diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) throughout our organization and the broader United States RSE community.

Code of Conduct

The US-RSE Association requires all members to adhere to the US-RSE Code of Conduct in all US-RSE activities, forums, and communications.

Membership

Membership is open to anyone who supports the mission of the US-RSE Association and who agrees to abide by the US-RSE Association Code of Conduct. As stated in our Code of Conduct, we welcome and respect individuals of all dimensions of diversity, including but not limited to race, color, caste, economic status, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, neurocognitive differences, age, religion (or lack thereof), national origin, and ethnicity.

Individuals may apply for membership by submitting the required membership form. Applications from people who currently have membership status revoked or applications that are found to be providing incorrect or fake information will be rejected. Failure to abide by the Code of Conduct may result in the temporary suspension or permanent revocation of membership and access to US-RSE communication channels.

Members are considered in “good standing” if they have supplied correct membership information during their application and are not subject to any form of sanction, suspension or disciplinary censure.

Once a year, an Annual General Meeting of the membership will be held to update the members on US-RSE activities and provide an opportunity for members to raise new business or proposals.

Voting

When electing Steering Committee members, or when other membership elections take place, each US-RSE member in good standing will be entitled to one vote.

Steering Committee Roles and Number

The Steering Committee consists of nine seats.

The Steering Committee has the following roles:

  • The Steering Committee is responsible for setting the overall policy and direction of the US-RSE Association, based on the inputs of the US-RSE Association membership.
  • The Steering Committee is ultimately responsible for day-to-day activities, operations, and development, but many of these actions and activities will be initiated, organized, and managed by community committees and members at large.
  • Members of the Steering Committee have the ability to grant or remove administrative rights for US-RSE Association umbrella technologies including but not limited to:
    • All repositories in the US-RSE GitHub organization
    • All mailboxes and mailing lists associated with the us-rse.org domain name
    • The us-rse.org domain and website
    • The US-RSE slack channel
    • Any other official accounts intended to represent the overall organization, now or in the future (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)

The Steering Committee strives for consensus in its decisions. In the case of a dispute or argument within the community, a majority vote of all of the Steering Committee members will result in a final decision. In the event of a tie, the Steering Committee chair will cast the deciding vote. At all Committee meetings, a quorum is at least one half of the members.

Steering Committee Elections and Terms

After the conclusion of the founding Steering Committee's tenure, all future Steering Committee members will be elected by the general US-RSE membership. Steering committee members are elected to a 2-year term. To provide continuity, steering committee members will have staggered terms, with four or five members elected each year.

Nominations for open positions will be solicited from all members at least 6 weeks before the election. The list of nominated candidates will be announced at least 3 weeks before the election. All US-RSE members in good standing on the date that the nominations are opened are eligible to be nominated as candidates.

Steering Committee Meetings and Communication

Steering Committee meetings will take place at a minimum of once per quarter, and typically will be held monthly. All Steering Committee meetings will have notes recorded and made available to the US-RSE Association members. The tallies of any votes of the Steering Committee will also be made available.

Steering Committee Officers

Officers consist of:

  • Chair
  • Vice Chair
  • Election Chair
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • 2 International Council of RSE Associations Representatives

These positions are elected by the Steering Committee. Officer elections will be held at the meeting following the election of new members to the Steering Committee.

Chair

The Chair will set the agenda and preside over Steering Committee meetings or arrange for the Vice Chair or another Steering Committee member to do so.
The Chair is responsible for convening the Annual General Meeting of the membership.
The Chair is responsible for reporting on US-RSE activities over the past year at the Annual General Meeting.

Vice Chair

In the event of the absence of the Chair, the Vice Chair will preside at meetings. The Vice Chair will be responsible for ensuring the community is kept informed of Association activities through regular newsletters, social media posts, etc.

Election Chair

The Election Chair will be responsible for collecting nominations for Steering Committee elections, running such elections, and running other votes of the membership as required. The Election Chair will be filled by a Steering Committee member in the first year of their term for a duration of 1 year.

Treasurer

The Treasurer will be responsible for the finances of the US-RSE Association. The Treasurer will present an overall budget for approval by the Steering Committee in advance of the Annual General Meeting, and then present this budget to the US-RSE membership in the Annual General Meeting. The Treasurer additionally has the authority to authorize spending (as previously approved in the budget) of US-RSE funds held by our Fiscal Sponsor, as do the Chair and Vice Chair.

Secretary

The Secretary will be responsible for ensuring that notes are taken in each meeting of the Committee and published after the meeting. In the absence of the Secretary, the presiding officer of the meeting will appoint another member to take on this responsibility.

International Council of RSE Associations Representatives

Two members of the Steering Committee will be appointed as representatives to the International Council of RSE Associations.
They are expected to attend council meetings and coordinate US-RSE activities with other RSE associations.

Resignations

A Steering Committee member may choose to resign by informing the Steering Committee Chair via email. Additionally, the Steering Committee Chair can resign by informing the full committee via email. The resignation will take effect at the time specified in the notice, and, unless otherwise specified, formal acceptance of the resignation is not necessary.

Removal

Steering Committee members can be removed by a two-thirds (⅔) vote of the full Steering Committee. In the event that that Committee is considering the removal of the Chair, the Vice Chair will preside.

Vacancies

If a seat on the Steering Committee becomes vacant, the remaining members of the Steering Committee may choose to appoint someone to fill the position for the remainder of the term. If the Steering Committee chooses to fill the position, the replacement will be chosen by a majority vote of the remaining members of the Steering Committee. In the event that a majority vote cannot be achieved, the seat shall remain open until the end of the seat's term.

Committees, Working Groups, and Community Involvement

Organizational functions of the US-RSE Association will be managed by standing committees that may consist of one or more members of the Steering Committee and interested members of and participants in the Association. These organizational activities include communications (website, social media, etc.), conference planning, and others to be determined by the Steering Committee.

Other activities, events, and efforts that have a fixed end date will be managed by working groups. These working groups can and should be initiated by members at large through discussion with the Steering Committee to ensure alignment with US-RSE priorities. Working groups should have at least three (3) US-RSE members as participants.

Changes to Governance

Minor revisions to this document can be made with the approval of at least two-thirds (⅔) of the current steering committee members. Major changes to the governance structure or this document will require a vote of the membership directly.

Ratification

This version of the document was ratified by the following members of the US-RSE Steering Committee:

  • Nicole Brewer, Purdue University
  • Jeff Carver, University of Alabama
  • Ian Cosden, Princeton University
  • Julia Damerow, Arizona State University
  • Sandra Gesing, University of Notre Dame
  • Chris Hill, MIT
  • Daniel S. Katz, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Christina Maimone, Northwestern University
  • Lance Parsons, Princeton University

The US-RSE document repository contains the previous versions and ratification history. The first version of this document was ratified on June 29, 2020.