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Code Sharing – read our tips and share your own

This week we announced an update to our journal policies on code sharing. To encourage our authors to share their code, we also added a new code availability section to our article templates. This new code availability section focuses mainly on articles that rely on custom code to generate or process data described in our articles. But, almost all modern research employs code or software at some stage. We feel that, ideally, it is best to describe all code or software used in a study in a way that supports reproducible research. What does this mean for our authors who would like to share their code alongside their data? What should be included in the code availability section? Here are some suggestions from our editorial team. rsz_1scidata_codesharing

    rsz_1idea1 Provide the name of any commercial or third party software and include a URL for it.
    rsz_1idea1 Include citations to relevant papers and DOIs for previously published code and software, i.e. cite what you used in your study.
    rsz_1idea1 Provide details of where your previously unpublished source code can be found.

    • For short, simple pieces of code, including it in a supplemental file may be adequate.
    • For more complex source code, consider using a control version repository (for example GitHub).
    • To ensure preservation and to make your code truly citable, consider archiving the specific version of code used in your article to a DOI minting repository (such as figshare).
    rsz_1idea1 Include details of the license under which you are sharing your code.
    rsz_1idea1 For authors using a reproducible manuscript system like sweave or knitr, provide the source code for your manuscript as a supplementary file.

But we want to hear from you! What are your top tips for sharing code successfully? Let us know by leaving a comment below, or join the conversation on twitter with @scientificdata using the hashtag #codesharetips.


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