Improving GitHub for science

Improving GitHub for science

From the post:

GitHub is being used today to build scientific software that’s helping find Earth-like planets in other solar systems, analyze DNA, and build open source rockets.

Seeing these projects and all this momentum within academia has pushed us to think about how we can make GitHub a better tool for research. As scientific experiments become more complex and their datasets grow, researchers are spending more of their time writing tools and software to analyze the data they collect. Right now though, these efforts often happen in isolation.

Citable code for academic software

Sharing your work is good, but collaborating while also getting required academic credit is even better. Over the past couple of months we’ve been working with the Mozilla Science Lab and data archivers, Figshare and Zenodo, to make it possible to get a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for any GitHub repository archive.

DOIs form the backbone of the academic reference and metrics system. With a DOI for your GitHub repository archive, your code becomes citable. Our newest Guide explains how to create a DOI for your repository.

A move in the right direction to be sure but how much of a move is open to question.

Think of a DOI as the equivalent to a International Standard Book Number (ISBN). Using that as an identifier, you are sure to find a book that I cite.

But if the book is several hundred pages long, you may find my “citing it” by an ISBN identifier alone isn’t quite good enough.

The same will be true for some citations using DOIs for Github repositories. Better than nothing at all, but falls short of a robust identifier for material within a Github archive.

I first saw this in a tweet by Peter Kraker.

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