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Hi, Keep It Open, But Behind a Paywall

Andrew Morin and six others have argued for open access to source code behind scientific publishing so that the work can be tested and live up to the promise of the scientific method. At least, I think that is the claim. Ah irony, the piece is in Science and behind, oh yes, a pay wall! As Morin says in Scientific American:

“Far too many pieces of code critical to the reproduction, peer-review and extension of scientific results never see the light of day,” said Andrew Morin, a postdoctoral fellow in the structural biology research and computing lab at Harvard University. “As computing becomes an ever larger and more important part of research in every field of science, access to the source code used to generate scientific results is going to become more and more critical.”

If the essay were available, we might assess it better too.

Nonetheless, the idea is interesting. It reminds me of work by Victoria Stodden who has looked at this issue for some time. From her bio:

Victoria Stodden is assistant professor of Statistics at Columbia University and serves as a member of the National Science Foundation’s Advisory Committee on Cyberinfrastructure (ACCI), and on Columbia University’s Senate Information Technologies Committee. She is one of the creators of SparseLab, a collaborative platform for reproducible computational research and has developed an award winning licensing structure to facilitate open and reproducible computational research, called the Reproducible Research Standard. She is currently working on the NSF-funded project: “Policy Design for Reproducibility and Data Sharing in Computational Science.”

Victoria is serving on the National Academies of Science committee on “Responsible Science: Ensuring the Integrity of the Research Process” and the American Statistical Association’s “Committee on Privacy and Confidentiality” (2013).

In other words, if you are interested in this area, you may want to contact Victoria as well as Mr. Morin.