Software, Data and Models Council

Software, Data and Modelling Council

The Software, Data and Models Council’s (SDMC) aim is that the software, data and modeling activities that underpin our research at PIK are of highest quality. It provides guidelines, best practice documents and a discussion platform that help scientists achieve this.


Every working group and future lab designates one responsible person for representation in the SDMC. One person can represent several working groups. The IT Department and the science coordination are also represented.

The representatives are responsible for communicating discussions and guidelines of the SDMC to the active scientists in the working group, and serve as a point of contact for the scientists in the WG for questions and inputs to the SDMC.

The full council meets twice a year. The meetings are prepared by the SDMC Steering Group. This group will consist of one member of every RD appointed by the chairs, the IT and the science coordination.

Further work is done in ad-hoc groups, as appropriate.


The remit of the SDMC covers

  • all aspects of scientific software development
  • all aspects of scientific data management
  • the technical aspects of model development and operation

Explicitly excluded are decision on the scientific modelling strategy.


The best practices agreed on by the SDMC are coded in a set of guidelines.

These guidelines are supplemented by a living document that aims to help the working scientist with how to address and solve common issues and challenges with maintaining high quality throughout the software, data and technical modelling aspects of our work.

The guidelines are an iteration of the existing modelling guidelines, adapted to better reflect the heterogeneity of work done at PIK and modern practices.


The guidelines are complemented by checklists (replacing the model fact sheets). Scientists and developers are encouraged to use the checklists regularly to help them achieve best practices.

Intragroup coordination and visibility

The various RSE groups, and individual experts within the RDs and WGs, already have highly tailored and specific practices for their problem domains, as well as on-boarding material. It is not a goal of the SDMC to replace these materials and practices in a central manner. However, the SDMC aims to create visibility of the groups activities within the institute and facilitate coordination where it is wished for.

The SDMC also ensures that the open source and open science activities of the institute are appropriately visible outside the institute.