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The case for open computer programs

An article [1] in the science journal Nature, making a case for releasing software used to produce results of scientific papers. For people who don’t have access to Nature, the abstract of the article should sum up its main thesis:

Scientific communication relies on evidence that cannot be entirely included in publications, but the rise of computational science has added a new layer of inaccessibility. Although it is now accepted that data should be made available on request, the current regulations regarding the availability of software are inconsistent. We argue that, with some exceptions, anything less than the release of source programs is intolerable for results that depend on computation. The vagaries of hardware, software and natural language will always ensure that exact reproducibility remains uncertain, but withholding code increases the chances that efforts to reproduce results will fail.

[1] D. C. Ince, L. Hatton, and J. Graham-Cumming. The case for open computer programs. Nature, 482:485–488, 2012. DOI: 10.1038/nature10836

Categories: open science
  1. david joyner
    23 February 2012 at 12:27 am

    Thanks for this post. It appears that the article is available free:

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