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If you're going to do good science, release the computer code too

Feb 11, 2010, 18:33 (20 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Darrel Ince)


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"One of the spinoffs from the emails and documents that were leaked from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia is the light that was shone on the role of program code in climate research. There is a particularly revealing set of "README" documents that were produced by a programmer at UEA apparently known as "Harry". The documents indicate someone struggling with undocumented, baroque code and missing data â€" this, in something which forms part of one of the three major climate databases used by researchers throughout the world.

"Many climate scientists have refused to publish their computer programs. I suggest is that this is both unscientific behaviour and, equally importantly, ignores a major problem: that scientific software has got a poor reputation for error."

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