Already a member?

Sign In

iBlog

In search of: Best practice for code repositories?

I was asked by a colleague about organized efforts within the economics community to develop or support repositories of code for research.  Her experience was with the astrophysics world which apparently has several and she was wondering what could be learned from another academic community.  So I asked a non-random sample of technical economists with whom I work, and then expanded the question to cover all of social sciences and posed the question to the IASSIST community. 

In a nutshell, the answer seems to be “nope, nothing organized across the profession” – even with the profession very broadly defined.  The general consensus for both the economics world and the more general social science community was that there was some chaos mixed with a little schizophrenia. I was told there are there are instances of such repositories, but they were described to me as “isolated attempts” such as this one by Volker Wieland:  http://www.macromodelbase.com/.  Some folks mentioned repositories that were package or language based such as R modules or SAS code from the SAS-L list or online at sascommunity.org.

Many people pointed out that there are more repositories being associated with journals so that authors can (or are required to) submit their data and code when submitting a paper for publication. Several responses touched on this issue of replication, which is the impetus for most journal requirements, including one that pointed out a “replication archive” at Yale (http://isps.yale.edu/research/data).  I was also pointed to an interested paper that questions whether such archives promote replicable research (http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~bdm25/cje.pdf) but that’s a discussion for another post.

By far, the most common reference I received was for the repositories associated with RePEc (Research Papers in Economics) which offers a broad range of services to the economic research community.  There you’ll find the IDEAS site (http://ideas.repec.org/) and the QM&RBC site with code for Dynamic General Equilibrium models (http://dge.repec.org/) both run by the St. Louis Fed.

I also heard from support folks who had tried to build a code repository for their departments and were disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm for the project. The general consensus is that economists would love to leverage other people’s code but don’t want to give away their proprietary models.  They should know there is no such thing as a free lunch! 

 I did hear that project specific repositories were found to be useful but I think of those as collaboration tools rather than a dissemination platform.  That said, one economist did end his email to me with the following plea:  “lots of authors provide code on their websites, but there is no authoritative host. Will you start one please?”

/san/

Comments

RunMyCode

The non profit RunMyCode Association is doing interesting work in this space. Their site is http://runmycode.org.

 

The RunMyCode website is operated by a not-profit making scientific association called the RunMyCode Association. The mission of the Association is to make research in economics and business easier to use and easier to replicate. RunMyCode is currently funded by several national research agencies and universities. 

 

-Harrison

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
  • IASSIST Quarterly

    Publications Special issue: A pioneer data librarian
    Welcome to the special volume of the IASSIST Quarterly (IQ (37):1-4, 2013). This special issue started as exchange of ideas between Libbie Stephenson and Margaret Adams to collect

    more...

  • Resources

    Resources

    A space for IASSIST members to share professional resources useful to them in their daily work. Also the IASSIST Jobs Repository for an archive of data-related position descriptions. more...

  • community

    • LinkedIn
    • Facebook
    • Twitter

    Find out what IASSISTers are doing in the field and explore other avenues of presentation, communication and discussion via social networking and related online social spaces. more...