Computing in Science & Engineering, January/February 2009, pp. 5-7.

Reproducible Research

by Sergey Fomel and Jon F. Claerbout


Reproducibility is a core principle of science. For computational experiments to become reproducible, one needs to develop a system for linking scientific publications with computational recipes. Articles in this special issue argue in favor of computational reproducibility and describe several practical approaches to reproducible research.

Our generation of computational scientists is living in an exciting time: not only do we get to pioneer important algorithms and computations,we also get to set standards on how computational research should be conducted and published. From Euclid's reasoning and Galileo's experiments, it took hundreds of years for the theoretical and experimental branches of science to develop standards for publication and peer review. Computational science, rightly regarded as the third branch, can walk the same road much faster.

What is science anyway? When does computational research become scientific? According to the American Physical Society, "Science is the systematic enterprise of gathering knowledge about the universe and organizing and condensing that knowledge into testable laws and theories. The success and credibility of science are anchored in the willingness of scientists to expose their ideas and results to independent testing and replication by other scientists. This requires the complete and open exchange of data, procedures and materials." (See for more information.)

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