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Share the Code

The source code of computer programs used in scientific research often goes unreported, says LiveScience. "Far too many pieces of code critical to the reproduction, peer-review and extension of scientific results never see the light of day," Harvard University postdoctoral fellow Andrew Morin tells LiveScience.

In this week's Science, Morin and his colleagues say that policy changes by funding agencies, journals, and research institutions are needed to rectify this problem, which they call "inconsistent with accepted norms in other scientific domains." They suggest that funding agencies establish clear policies to promote code sharing and that journals require source code to be available upon publication. Further, open-source software licenses allow for the sharing of code while protecting intellectual property.

"If I knew there was a publication requirement for my code, I probably would have done things like comment it better, kept better track of it, and generally put a bit more thought and effort into my code — which would have certainly helped me and others later on when I inevitably tried to reuse or share it, even if just with others in my own research group," Morin tells LiveScience.

The Scan

Missed Early Cases

A retrospective analysis of blood samples suggests early SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been missed in the US, the New York Times reports.

Limited Journal Editor Diversity

A survey finds low diversity among scientific and medical journal editors, according to The Scientist.

How Much of a Threat?

Science writes that need for a provision aimed at shoring up genomic data security within a new US bill is being questioned.

PNAS Papers on Historic Helicobacter Spread, Brain Development, C. difficile RNAs

In PNAS this week: Helicobacter genetic diversity gives insight into human migrations, gene expression patterns of brain development, and more.