Launching a second pilot study of code review in science

Posted on January 16, 2014 by  Greg Wilson

We are launching a second pilot study of code review in science in February, and invite you to take part. The main findings of our first study were:

  1. everyone involved thought it could be useful, but
  2. a drive-by review after work is “finished” isn’t.

This time, we’re pairing experienced mentors with small groups of scientists who are ready to start giving code review a try. The mentor will do a few reviews at the outset to get things rolling, but after that will act as a coach to help the scientists learn how to do reviews themselves.

Our goal is to find out whether code review will have the same benefits in science as it does in open source and commercial software development. More importantly, though, we want to see whether integrating code review into the research cycle will spur scientists to work in more open, more collaborative ways in general. Once researchers are used to reading one another’s code, will they be more likely to re-use it as well? Will adoption of code review encourage them to use more open tools in writing their papers, and help them see how to make data more reusable as well?

If you would like to take part (either as a mentor or as a team being mentored), please get in touch – we’d be grateful for your help. You can also catch up on our first pilot in this wrap up post.