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Open Science Means Open Source - Or, at Least, It Should

Accepted submission by canopic jug at 2018-12-05 04:24:01 from the open-since-1665 dept.

Over at the Linux Journal [], Glyn Moody writes about how the tradition of open science implies a call for the use of Open-Source Software []. He notes that even in the first issue of the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions, which is the oldest scientific journal in continuous publication in the world, the principles for open science are taken as a given. Thus, he explains how open source software, along with both Open Data and Open Access publication, should be a natural fit for scientific work.

When did open source begin? In February 1998, when the term was coined by Christine Peterson? Or in 1989, when Richard Stallman drew up the "subroutinized" GNU GPL? Or perhaps a little earlier, in 1985, when he created the GNU Emacs license? How about on March 6, 1665? On that day, the following paragraph appeared:

Whereas there is nothing more necessary for promoting the improvement of Philosophical Matters, than the communicating to such, as apply their Studies and Endeavours that way, such things as are discovered or put in practise by others; it is therefore thought fit to employ the Press, as the most proper way to gratifie those, whose engagement in such Studies, and delight in the advancement of Learning and profitable Discoveries, doth entitle them to the knowledge of what this Kingdom, or other parts of the World, do, from time to time, afford, as well of the progress of the Studies, Labours, and attempts of the Curious and learned in things of this kind, as of their compleat Discoveries and performances: To the end, that such Productions being clearly and truly communicated, desires after solid and usefull knowledge may be further entertained, ingenious Endeavours and Undertakings cherished, and those, addicted to and conversant in such matters, may be invited and encouraged to search, try, and find out new things, impart their knowledge to one another, and contribute what they can to the Grand design of improving Natural knowledge, and perfecting all Philosophical Arts, and Sciences.

Much more could be done by scientific funding bodies to benefit from Open Source Software, while at the same time many Open Source Software projects could do better in reaching out to the scientific community.

Original Submission