Ten simple rules for the open development of scientific software
Posted Jan 4, 2013 0:40 UTC (Fri) by JoeBuck
In reply to: Ten simple rules for the open development of scientific software
Parent article: Ten simple rules for the open development of scientific software
I was privileged to do my graduate research in a culture (UC Berkeley EECS department) that did rock-solid open source development and released a whole lot of software that was built upon by other groups. I agree that research software should be released, ideally open source, and if the university legal department sets up roadblocks, at least it should be made available on a restricted-use basis. However, it's a mistake to over-emphasize the software, and there may be advantages in having other groups re-implement the algorithms rather than just use the same code.
If Research Group A publishes a paper and releases software, Research Group B can run the software and observe the same result. But this doesn't mean that the result is correct; the software might be wrong. Similarly, claims that algorithm A is superior to algorithm B can be confused with the fact that implementation A is better than implementation B, but a bug in B's implementation led to worse performance than could have been achieved.
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