Ten simple rules for reproducible computational research

PLOS Computational Biology just published a new addition to their popular “ten simple rules” series:

Sandve GK, Nekrutenko A, Taylor J, Hovig E (2013) Ten Simple Rules for Reproducible Computational Research. PLoS Comput Biol 9(10): e1003285. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003285

This article is relevant to anybody who wants to do computational research. I’ll make it required reading in my lab. For every single one of these rules, I can think of projects I’ve been involved with [1] that ran into trouble or failed because they violated that rule.

While all of the rules are important, I’m particularly partial to these four: avoid manual data manipulation, record all intermediate results, always store raw data behind plots, and provide public access to scripts and results. They will prevent a lot of headaches for both you and the people coming after you who’d like to build on your results.

Notes

[1] All of these projects were run by friends of friends, of course. None of this would ever happen in my lab. :-)