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BCS calls for computer coding in scientific research to be more professional

The logo of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

A position paper from BCS, a professional organization representing those working in information technology and computer science in the U.K. and internationally, finds the software coding practices of non-computer-science scientists to be insufficiently p

Credit: BCS

The BCS has deplored a lack of professionalism in software development in medical science. This, says the society in a new policy paper, has led to a politicisation of modelling in the current Covid-19 health crisis.

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Bill Mitchell, director of policy at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, said in a statement that accompanied the paper, Professionalising software development in scientific research: "The politicisation of the role of computer coding in epidemiology has made it obvious that our understanding and use of science relies as much on the underlying code as on the underlying research."

In a statement to Computer Weekly, Mitchell said that by "politicization," the BCS means "that computer code used for scientific research, particularly around Covid-19, has been subject to a range of high-profile attacks that are not based on a rigorous analysis by independent software development experts, but seem to be designed to support a political position that is trying to undermine the science."

He added: "Having an agreed, independent, open standard for coding in epidemiology would surely help protect the reputation of work that has significant social implications."


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