Why I love open source, and wish science worked this way

Published on March 02, 2013 by Dr. Randal S. Olson

open science open source

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Yesterday, I got bored and hastily hacked together a script to scrape word frequencies from Reddit and make word clouds out of them. Of course, I included the source code on github so everyone else could use the script if they wanted to. Overnight, some people I've never met before found my repo, decided they loved it, improved my script 1000x, committed their changes to my github repo, then started promoting my github repo through venues I'd never even thought of.

Isn't that amazing?

Just because I openly posted my code on the internet, a group of people came together to refine my work and make it better for everyone. In the end, I learned some new coding tricks, the code is reaching a broader audience of people that I'd never imagined, and everyone ended up with a better final product.

Wouldn't it be nice if science worked this way?