Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Where free software and peer-review software differ

In this essay I point out while free software and scientific peer-review have many characteristics in common, they come from different philosophies. There are requirements for free software (free ability to redistribute modified code to anyone) which are not essential to effective peer review, and there are requirements for effective peer review (getting access to the source code in order to evaluate it) which are directly contrary to the free software ideals of the GNU project (which lets you distribute free software for any price you may wish).

Here is the place to leave comments about that essay.

Code review

I believe the literature shows that code review is a effective way to find defects in software and to promote knowledge transfer. I think it's easier to put into place than pair programming. Unfortunately it's also socially stressful.

In my essay on code review I outline some of ways I've done code review and some reasons that people don't do it.

I want to promote the use of code review in general, and also more specifically in cheminformatics. I'm not sure how. I described a few in that essay. If you have more, let me know.