A scientific basis for Open Source Software
Posted May 19, 2012 21:49 UTC (Sat) by pboddie
In reply to: A scientific basis for Open Source Software
Parent article: A scientific basis for Open Source Software
I agree that the papers do not spell out the algorithm however any professional scientist worth their salt can fill in any gaps.
The devil is often in the details, though.
If the paper is evasive or not transparent (not common in my experience) you can always have recourse to the journal correspondence section or to private communication.
True, but it seems like an unnecessary overhead when the authors could have just published their source code. There are researchers who are quite happy to share their sources unconditionally, so not doing so just seems like adding an extra barrier between people for the sake of it.
Of course, there are factors that discourage people from releasing their sources, such as dissatisfaction about the quality or polish of the work, the lack of readiness of a system for immediate deployment (and other engineering issues), concerns over a maintenance burden, and so on. I've personally heard some of these used to justify not sharing the code running various widely-used services within a particular domain: the service maintainers would rather you used lots of bandwidth and their hardware than take the burden of potentially supporting others deploying their software.
The sad thing is that many scientists just don't seem to care if a service goes away if another similar one pops up in another place. They are quite happy to relinquish control over the process if they get data they can put in a paper. We actually need truly open services as well as software products.
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