Ten simple rules for the open development of scientific software
Posted Jan 4, 2013 10:44 UTC (Fri) by dark
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'd find this argument more convincing if it didn't also apply to publishing the data.
It's enough if scientific papers just describe the experimental protocol and their conclusions. It's a mistake to over-emphasize publishing the data; after all, research groups who are interested in verifying the result should run their own experiment instead of re-analysing the same data.
The flaw in the argument here is that if there are mistakes in the original group's analysis then they are exposed by publishing the data along with the conclusions, just like mistakes in software implementation would be exposed by publishing it. Forcing other groups to re-do the work and then guess why their results are different will instead hide these problems.
Publishing experimental data along with the conclusions drawn from it is considered essential; publishing the software used should be considered essential for the same reasons. In both cases, it makes sense to provide only a summary if there's no space for all of it (as in a print article); in that case, showing the implementation of the crucial parts of the algorithm would suffice. We can take the command-line parsing on faith :)
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