Marcus D. Hanwell

1787 points
Marcus D. Hanwell
Rexford, NY

Marcus D. Hanwell | Marcus leads the Open Chemistry project, developing open source tools for chemistry, bioinformatics, and materials science research. He completed an experimental PhD in Physics at the University of Sheffield, a Google Summer of Code developing Avogadro and Kalzium, and a postdoctoral fellowship combining experimental and computational chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh before moving to Kitware in late 2009. He is now a Technical Leader in the Scientific Computing group at Kitware, a member of the Blue Obelisk, blogs, @mhanwell on Twitter and is active on Google+. He is passionate about open science, open source and making sense of increasingly large scientific data to understand the world around us.

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Things aren't as great at you might hope in maths and science, but there is a lot of work going on to improve that in the open science movement. The fact you have to stick the word open in there is disappointing too, but the Creative Commons has been helpful in that movement. We have similar needs expressed here, when I write Tomviz open source software for electron tomography data processing, analysis, and visualization I need open data sets generated on real microscopes at a high quality but work in a software company that owns no microscopes.

This is a great article, it has nice parallels with needs in many fields. People are very protective of "their" data, and we need to establish the benefits of the commons in art, science, mathematics, and everywhere else. People producing data, making models, etc need software, and the people developing software need open data, models, etc. A great symbiotic relationship many are unaware of. Thanks for writing such a great article, it was great to see the parallels to fields I work in.

Great article, and I think it succinctly expresses a number of common pitfalls. Releases are tough, you want to make good, stable releases with all the features, but they need to be regular, and whilst I agree if you aren't (at least a little) embarrassed by your first release it is tough balancing that with showing enough promise. I have learned to relax more over the years.

Infrastructure building has gotten worse in recent years as the expectations have risen. I think it is a great thing, but it has to be tempered with actually getting stuff out there, moving forward, and I would say also ensuring you aren't investing too many resources in infrastructure to the detriment of shipping new features.

Nice write up, thanks for putting this together!