Building a local community of practice in scientific programming for life scientists

by Sarah L. R. Stevens, Mateusz Kuzak, Carlos Martinez, Aurelia Moser, Petra Bleeker, Marc Galland

In this paper, we describe why and how to build a local community of practice in scientific programming for life scientists who use computers and programming in their research. A community of practice is a small group of scientists who meet regularly to help each other and promote good practices in scientific programming. While most life scientists are well trained in the laboratory to conduct experiments, good practices with (big) data sets and their analysis are often missing. We propose a model on how to build such a community of practice at a local academic institution, present two real-life examples, and introduce challenges and implemented solutions. We believe that the current data deluge that life scientists face can benefit from the implementation of these small communities. Good practices spread among experimental scientists will foster open, transparent, and sound scientific results beneficial to society.

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