Twenty Percent

This post originally appeared on the Software Carpentry website.

I realized a couple of days ago that I'd never blogged about what Software Carpentry needs to accomplish in order to change the practice of science fundamentally and permanently. In a nutshell, we need to convert a fifth of scientists to our way of thinking. Once we do that, the odds are better than 50-50 that every time someone sends a paper out for review, at least one reviewer will ask hard questions about how the computational work was done. I get that number by assuming:

Number of Reviewers Fraction of Papers
2 10%
3 40%
4 40%
5 10%

which means the probability that none of a paper's reviewers will ask the right questions is 0.1×0.82 + 0.4×0.83 + 0.4×0.84 + 0.1×0.85 = 46.5%. It's a grossly simplistic model, but at least it gives us something to shoot for.

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