Friday, 28 October 2016

do this now

A nice arXiv paper “Good Enough Practices in Scientific Computing”, full of very sound advice, although I'd probably call it “The Theoretical Minimum Practices in Scientific Computing”.
Our intended audience is researchers who are working alone or with a handful of collaborators on projects lasting a few days to a few months, and who are ready to move beyond emailing themselves a spreadsheet named results-updated-3-revised.xlsx at the end of the workday. A practice is included in our list if large numbers of researchers use it, and large numbers of people are still using it months after first trying it out. We include the second criterion because there is no point recommending something that people won’t actually adopt.

[via Danny Yee’s blog]

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  1. I think they missed the point when recommending licenses for software... In a way they suggest against GPL by citing this work:
    which painstakingly describes all the reasons why you want to have licenses such as GPL in your scientific work. Mainly they are among the few that *prevent patent treachery*. They could at least mention FreeBSD instead of just BSD.
    I think that all these analyses on GPL-licenses have always the nice scenario in mind an they just forget to imagine about the nasty scenarios which are the ones we want to prevent.
    If people dislike GPL on idiological/religious[1] grounds, then at least they should check this list [2].

    1. A fair point. Also, this is the area that one's institution is most likely to have suggestions or requirements in place.