Lorena A. Barba group

The hard road to reproducibility

Science 07 Oct 2016 cover

Science 07 Oct 2016 cover

by Lorena A. Barba

Science 07 Oct 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6308, pp. 142
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6308.142

Early in my Ph.D. studies, my supervisor assigned me the task of running computer code written by a previous student who was graduated and gone. It was hell. I had to sort through many different versions of the code, saved in folders with a mysterious numbering scheme. There was no documentation and scarcely an explanatory comment in the code itself. It took me at least a year to run the code reliably, and more to get results that reproduced those in my predecessor's thesis. Now that I run my own lab, I make sure that my students don't have to go through that.

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