RC Wants the Code – No Kidding
Posted by Jeff Condon on December 17, 2009
So I’m sittin’ there staring at the most unusual thing. A Real Climate post where they are upset that someone (Nicola Scafetta) didn’t get them the code for his paper. Well, clearly we’re not un-supportive of their plight. After all, the data and the code should be released no matter what the result says. I left them a comment to that effect in their thread.
You have my support on his release of code.
I’ve even personally emailed him to release it, to no avail. It will be quite a bit simpler than some of the other code but as you said the 11 and 22 year cycle issue is not obvious.
The boundary issue could have been caught but the rest is not apparent and shouldn’t require you to waste your time divining an algorithm from text. As a fellow non-psychic, I hope you succeed on this front.
At the time this conflict happened in blogland, I wrote to Dr. Scafetta to encourage him to release his code, several times in fact. He refused saying something like – it’s too simple to worry about. At RC they make this point:
A replication in general doesn’t require full disclosure of source code because the description in the paper should be sufficient, though in this case it clearly wasn’t. So to both save having us do it again and perhaps miss some other little detail – in addition to using an algorithm that Scafetta is happy with – it’s worth getting the code with which to validate our efforts.
It’s rather jaw dropping to read after spending months trying to guess the methods of Steig et al. I was able to get a very close approximation early on (with the help of several others) but it wasn’t until Ryan guessed that we needed to take the PC’s from a covariance matrix that we were able to get a good replication – try and find that in the paper.
Therefore, it was particularly amusing to read this:
I’m no psychic, so I couldn’t have guessed that all this was needed to reproduce his result. But since Scafetta has lost faith in my ability to repeat his work, I think it’s even a greater reason to disclose his code so that others can have a go.
This is not a further complaint about Steig, we have resolved all the issues, however, I wonder what the purpose is of Scafetta not releasing his code to these guys. Perhaps it’s messy, or lost, or incorrect. It doesn’t really matter, if Scafetta’s result is real, he should release the code, especially on request of interested parties.
Since RC has apparently started to see the light, perhaps some of the readers here, should stop over there and offer our support for their newfound openness.