Data and Code Sharing Roundtable
Scientific computation is emerging as absolutely central to today's scientific endeavor, but the prevalence of very relaxed practices is leading to a credibility crisis. Reproducible computational research, in which all details of the computations — code and data — are made conveniently available to others, is a necessary response to this crisis. This roundtable brought together leading thinkers and stakeholders from a variety of vantage points to discuss issues regarding reproducibility in computational science.
The sharing of computational research is affected by a broad range of factors, including the role of journals and peer review, funder requirements, standards within universities, legal frameworks, and computational tools and facilitators.
The inspiration for this roundtable came from the leadership of the genome research community in facilitating the open release of sequence data. That community gathered in Bermuda in 1996 to develop a cooperative strategy both for genome decoding and for managing the resulting data. "The principle of data availability had to be endorsed at the Bermuda meeting or else mutual trust would have been impossible." (Sulston, 2002). Their meeting resulted in the "Bermuda Principles" that shaped the data sharing practices among researchers, ensuring rapid data release. The convention of statement release continued as these principles were reaffirmed and extended 3 more times (most recently in Toronto in July 2009 resulting a Nature publication). In the computational research community more generally the incentives and pressures can differ from those attending to human genome sequencing, but producing a publishable document discussing reactions to data and code sharing in computational science was an important goal of this roundtable.
We have also published short topical thought pieces authored by participants, raising awareness of the issue of reproducibility in computational science.