Best programming practices workshop in CUBRIC

Dominik Krzeminski, Maciej Szul
First session of the workshop about "Best programming practices"

Best programming practices for open science

Last Friday (May 25th, 2018) two of the PhD students from our lab, Dominik and Maciej, organised the workshop Best programming practices for open science generously funded by GW4.

The aim of the training was to raise awareness and introduce good programming practices adopted widely in the industry, but severely underused in academia. Target group for the course were mainly post-graduate students who are using programming in their daily work for numerical simulations, data processing or statistical modelling.

The invited experts were also advocates of open source scientific software developement. Demonstrations included practical solutions on how improve the accesibility of the academic code, and in results improve reproducibility of the scientific process.

Dr Vincent Knight and Nikoleta E. Glynatsi from Cardiff University School of Mathematics presented good practices on how to increase code readability and reliability. They opened our eyes on code testing, comments and variables/function naming conventions.

Dr Cyril Charron from CUBRIC presented arguments in favour of using distributed version control systems. Participants could practice it during next GIT hands-on session. Next, we went beyond coding with Dr Daniel Finnegan from University of Bath, who presented useful tools for scientific writing (LaTeX) and reference managing (Mendeley, Zotero). Rounding up our workshop, Dr Candice Morey of Cardiff University, shed light on how to apply open science practices to directly improve the scientific work and increase overall transparency and reliability of the whole process.

According to the feedback forms received, participants had positive impressions. The workshop was full of networking, discussions and stimulating questions. Seeing young researchers being enthusisatic about improving the quality and transparency of their work was very rewarding. That begs the question, why this type of training is not included in most PhD program curricula or at least offered in doctoral academies.

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