Software Must Remain Open Source, Say Scientists

An editorial in the scientific journal Nature argues that software used to interpret data from scientific experiments must be open source so that others can attempt to repeat the experiment.

What's the Latest Development?


An editorial in the scientific journal Nature argues that software used to interpret data from scientific experiments must remain open source so that other scientists can attempt to repeat the experiment. The authors point out that, today, scientists and engineers rely heavily on computer software to interpret data before arriving at conclusions. And since reproducing the results of an experiment is essential to confirming its validity, scientists must have access to more than a description of the code used in the course of an experiment.

What's the Big Idea?

Currently, many scientific journals simply request descriptions of computer code used in experiments. However, "ambiguity in the descriptions and errors in the code" are cited as two reasons why this practice is insufficient. In some cases, however, the institutions which fund experiments may prevent their researchers from releasing code because of copyright protections. Another reason given for why code is not presently released is that scientists stand to be embarrassed if errors are found in their procedures.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

What’s behind our appetite for self-destruction?

Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?

Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Each new year, people vow to put an end to self-destructive habits like smoking, overeating or overspending.

Keep reading Show less

Physicists puzzled by strange numbers that could explain reality

Eight-dimensional octonions may hold the clues to solve fundamental mysteries.

Surprising Science
  • Physicists discover complex numbers called octonions that work in 8 dimensions.
  • The numbers have been found linked to fundamental forces of reality.
  • Understanding octonions can lead to a new model of physics.
Keep reading Show less

Douglas Rushkoff – It’s not the technology’s fault

It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.

Think Again Podcasts
  • It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
  • Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
Keep reading Show less