It would be totally diﬀerent if the corresponding research record, the document for the
code in this case, could be provided, with clear and complete descriptions like running
environment, experiment procedures, logs of phenomenon when the researcher doing
Provide support for research reproduction is one of the essential research ethics. Good
record keeping is the main basis of the support. It would be very supportive if researchers
can keep in mind how they can support their fellow researchers for reproducing by making
the research record well, just as they think how they can report the experiment when
doing for their papers.
But without making the research records accessible to fellow researchers, it is in vain no
matter how good the record is. As some 404 pages returned to me when I was trying to
open the links of code snippets provided in the paper, and the anecdotes experienced by
Collberg et al. [
], it is not just a waste of time for the research progress, but also raised a
doubt on the results. For some (or we can say many) categories of studies, we can hardly
be sure whether the results are valid without checking the code, data and so on.
And for some types of research methods like survey, it is somehow easy to forge or falsify
the data, especially for those anonymously recorded. With publicly accessible research
records, misconduct behaviours like fabrication and falsiﬁcation could be checked by fellow
On the other hand, the requirement of making research records publicly accessible with
details can somehow prevent potential misconduct. Because we know that forged content
is vulnerable, researchers with malicious intentions will consider more before deciding to
The similar eﬀects apply to plagiarism, which might be the mostly appeared misconduct
]. Though the plagiarism is revealed by chance if it was elaborately conducted,
the stolen text excerpts, ideas, data, etc. could still be discovered from the research
records since the circle is relatively small for the same topic.
Consider that the publication is a report of research’s ﬁnal results with a limited length
with a clear scope, it cannot include all those works that helped to formulate and conduct
the research. So the research record can help to give credits to and also share with fellow
researchers those works that not mentioned in the publication.
Despite good research record keeping itself is part of the research ethics, and aﬀects many
aspects for conducting an ethical research, the reality did not reﬂect the same importance
it should have.
A. Schreier et al. conducted a survey of 96 universities, in which over half of the oﬃcials
reported they had been hampered in inquires or investigations by inadequate research
]. And 27% of 3, 247 respondents admitted to inadequate research record keeping
according to the survey by American National Institutes of Health .
Now let us take a look at the facts in the discipline of Computer Science, C. Collberg et
al. examined 402 papers diﬀerent ACM conferences and journals that should have code
as research record to back the results [
]. This is only a check for repeating the part of
running the code used in research, which is far from reproducing the work. However, only
85 codes could be found by the links provided in the paper, codes of 176 papers could not