reproducible research in the neurosciences

Lester Ingber ingber at ingber.com
Wed Apr 3 19:43:59 EST 1996


In article <4ju88h$jmu at eis.wfunet.wfu.edu>,
Mark Laubach <laubach at biogfx.neuro.wfu.edu> wrote:
:        I am very much interested in the idea of electronic
:publishing, not only of papers but also of the data sets upon which
:the papers are based and of the code for the analysis of the data.  I
:do neurophysiology: multi-electrode recording.  There have been
:several recent and somewhat controversial articles of late and it
:would do the whole neuroscience community some good if someone was to
:set up a site where the papers, the data on which they were based, and
:the analysis code used in the papers was made public.  This would
:ensure that not only the papers but the data in them could be reviewed
:by others in the field.  Also, having the code for a new analysis
:procedure made public will allow others to apply the method to their
:system and for any problems in the approach to be discovered.

...

:        This idea is common in statistics, especially in the wavelet
:community.  I have been using some of these methods and have gotten to
:know some folks who have argued for making research _reproducible_.
:That is, after you publish an article, you put a data set and the code
:needed to reproduce the figures in the paper on a web site so that
:others can literally reproduce your research methods and results.

...

:What do you think?
:
:
:Mark Laubach

I think your idea is important, has been proprosed by many people
before, and is doomed by the politics of present-day neuroscience.

Aside from my own negative experience is just simply trying to get
data, even data already used for published papers, to process by
algorithms that have already been peer-reviewed and published in
first-rank journals, a couple of months ago, a practicing neurologist
sent an e-mail to over 30 scientists, appealing for a similar archive.
I will only give enough here to convey the message, not to disclose the
sender to those who did not receive the message:

 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>   UNTIL <<<< BELOW  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
 As some of you already know, I am encourging you and others to participate
in the formation of a Web/anon ftp repository of digital EEG and EP data
for research and educational purposes. Using other data sets will be critical
to establishing the validity of computer algorithms many of us are developing.
 
 Data sharing has been anathema to date. My experience trying to collect
a simple subset of epilepsy surgery data following the XXX
                                                            disaster. This
despite the conference's approval of such a project. I pray this enterprise
for digital EEG/EP will be successful.

...

Jan. 17, 1996
 
Dear Dr. XXX,
 
I would like to propose the institution of a research Internet resource, 
which would be sponsored by the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society 
(ACNS) [formally AEEGS].

...
 <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<   FROM  >>>> ABOVE  <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Nothing has happened, as confirmed by a recent correspondence I had with
the sender.  To my knowledge, nothing like this state of affairs has
been present in other Sciences, e.g., physics.

Lester
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