Where should I put scripts for a paper?

I'm putting together a computational pipeline for a paper - a Makefile that runs a ton of stuff and outputs files, combined with an ipython notebook file that takes those output files and turns them into figures for inclusion in a LaTeX file. (Yes, very 2000, except for the ipython notebook which is bleeding edge.)

As we all do, I've written a bunch of paper-specific scripts to process data and otherwise munge stuff together. The paper is based on my khmer project, but the scripts are paper-spec they may morph into something more project-general.

So where should I put them?

Specifically, should I --

  • check them into the paper repository, and make them part of the paper build process?
  • check them into the software repository?
  • make a special-purpose github repo for them?

My hesitation about combining them with the paper repo is that I write papers on my laptop and run compute elsewhere, so in my mind they don't belong together. Off the top of my head it seems like the best option, though.

If I put them in the software repository, then they will go stale unless I integrate them into the automated tests. For that matter, I could put the paper in the software repo, too, but either way the automated tests for these scripts will introduce a lot of new and tangential dependencies into the main software repo.

If I put them in a special-purpose github repo, then they will go stale but nobody will really care :). And they will be lost for all eternity. Which might be ok.

Does anyone have any experience with this kind of thing? My last such scripts+pub effort was before I got the automated testing bug...

(I think we need an "ask the compusciencegeek" service...)

--titus


Legacy Comments

Posted by Aaron J. Grier on 2012-03-14 at 00:36.

could you link them between multiple repositories as a git subproject?
a slight PITA, but they do seem to be a separate code entity from the
software and the paper.    github for backups, and maybe the
convenience of external developers... maybe just a cron job that
resyncs it with whatever branch(es) you deem public.

Posted by Titus Brown on 2012-03-14 at 01:06.

Aaron -- good question, dunno.  Probably.  Interesting idea.

Posted by Deepak on 2012-03-14 at 01:10.

If it's specific to the paper, it's part of the paper.  If it's a more
broadly set of script, I'd recommend putting them in their own
repository/your script repository and point to them.

Posted by Greg Wilson on 2012-03-14 at 09:51.

I like the "ask the compusciencegeek" idea: <a href="http://software-
carpentry.org/2012/03/ask-the-compusciencegeek/">http://software-
carpentry.org/2012/03/ask-the-compusciencegeek/</a>

Posted by Titus Brown on 2012-03-15 at 12:01.

Deepak, I think you nailed it.  Thanks.

Posted by Erich Schwarz on 2012-03-15 at 17:36.

Whatever else you do, make sure you have a static snapshot in your
supplemental data files.  I know this is useless to **you** and not
really what you want ... but the great advantage of a static file is
this: it does not depend on being able to log into a git or whatever
server N months or years from now.  It just requires the journal's web
site to not have been nuked.    You can also do all the much better
stuff -- git repository, branch of your overall code tree, etc. etc.
etc. -- but **one** snapshot that is just **there**, stuck in the
permanent archive of supp. data files attached to your paper, will
mean that there is some minimum that can always be mined out later by
whoever wants it.  (It's also probably legally useful -- you can point
to it if you ever need to prove that, yes, on March 16th, 2012, you
did indeed have this specific set of scripts that you were using --
but I hope you never need it for that reason...)

Posted by Titus Brown on 2012-03-15 at 22:44.

Yes, static stuff already planned.  I'm going to host it on S3, also,
as well as on my own computer.    --titus

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