Thursday, April 12, 2012

Secret Source Codes Threaten Modern Science

Date: 12 April 2012 Time: 02:43 PM ET

Molecular Simulation
A human O-GlcNAc transferase (molecule) structure created as a model by a computer program.
CREDIT: Lazarus, M.B., Nam, Y., Jiang, J., Sliz, P., Walker, S. | Protein Data Bank
Modern science relies upon researchers sharing their work so that their peers can check and verify success or failure. But most scientists still don't share one crucial piece of information — the source codes of the computer programs driving much of today's scientific progress.
Such secrecy comes at a time when many researchers write their own source codes — human-readable instructions for how computer programs do their work — to run simulations and analyze experimental results. Now, a group of scientists is arguing for new standards that require newly published studies to make their source codes available. Otherwise, they say, the scientific method of peer review and reproducing experiments to verify results is basically broken.



Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
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