Project II.9. Core Facility for Language and Literacy Research Software Development/Support

D.G. Jamieson, P. Allen

Objectives: To develop high-quality software and software tools for use across a range of CLLRnet projects, in a highly efficient and cost-effective manner.

Rationale: Many CLLRnet projects will have similar requirements for software.  In some instances, alternative software products are available commercially, and it can be advantageous to identify superior/preferred products and to standardize across the network and/or to negotiate a network-wide acquisition.  In other cases, appropriate software is not commercially available, but is required for a range of similar projects. Examples include software to measure the ability to detect and discriminate auditory and visual signals, using rigorous psychophysical procedures that have been adapted to the needs and abilities of young children, or for children with a variety of sensory, perceptual, cognitive or motor disabilities. In many cases, such development is best done by a single, highly experienced group, working in a single location.  Such groups allow higher levels of skill development and specialization; they reduce training costs; they facilitate retention of highly-trained technical staff because they provide both more challenging work and internal opportunities for staff advancement; they reduce the need to duplicate resources across the Network; and they offer greater efficiencies, for example, through explicit opportunities for sharing and reusing code.  These factors allow higher-quality software to be produced more quickly and at less overall cost, for use by Network researchers.

Approach: CLLRnet’s software needs will be identified by our Investigators, Theme Leaders and Partners.  We will continuously look for opportunities for these needs to be met and CLLRnet’s objectives advanced through the resources of a central software development/support group (SDG).   The priority of the SDG will relate to meeting software needs that are network-wide and/or relate to a number of CLLRnet projects.  In addition, when other groups develop software with CLLRnet funds for specific projects or groups of projects, the resulting software will be archived by the SDG with a view to subsequent modification and reuse if required for CLLRnet projects. 

The SDG will take advantage of the expertise available at the National Centre for Audiology (NCA), which has extensive experience in developing software for a range of research and clinical needs.  Software developed by NCA programmers is licensed to more than a dozen manufacturers and used in more than 50 countries. Additional programmers will be recruited for the group using NCE funds, revenues from partners, software sales and licensing, and, where consistent with CLLRnet objectives and priorities, contract programming – for example, researchers who require software for a particular specific project may purchase services from the SDG to allow their projects to advance more quickly.

For more information on this project, please contact Aaron Finkenzeller (

Core Facilities