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Introduction to Maneage

The most important element of a "scientific" statement/result is the fact that others should be able to falsify it. The Tsunami of data that has engulfed scientists in the last two decades, combined with faster processors and faster internet connections has made it much more easier to obtain a result. However, these factors have also increased the complexity of a scientific analysis, such that it is no longer possible to describe all the steps of an analysis in the published paper. Citing this difficulty, many authors suffice to describing the generalities of their analysis in their papers.

However, It is impossible to falsify (or even study) a result if you can't exactly reproduce it. The complexity of modern science makes it vitally important to exactly reproduce the final result. Because even a small deviation can be due to many different parts of an analysis. Nature is already a black box which we are trying so hard to comprehend. Not letting other scientists see the exact steps taken to reach a result, or not allowing them to modify it (do experiments on it) is a self-imposed black box, which only exacerbates our ignorance.

Other scientists should be able to reproduce, check and experiment on the results of anything that is to carry the "scientific" label. Any result that is not reproducible (due to incomplete information by the author) is not scientific: the readers have to have faith in the subjective experience of the authors in the very important choice of configuration values and order of operations: this is contrary to the scientific spirit.

Maneage is created with the aim of supporting reproducible research by making it easy to start a project in this framework. As shown below, it is very easy to customize Maneage for any particular (research) project and expand it as it starts and evolves. It can be run with no modification (as described in as a demonstration and customized for use in any project as fully described below.

A project designed using Maneage will download and build all the necessary libraries and programs for working in a closed environment (highly independent of the host operating system) with fixed versions of the necessary dependencies. The tarballs for building the local environment are also collected in a separate repository. The final output of the project is a paper. Notice the last paragraph of the Acknowledgments where all the necessary software are mentioned with their versions.

Below, we start with a discussion of why Make was chosen as the high-level language/framework for project management and how to learn and master Make easily (and freely). The general architecture and design of the project is then discussed to help you navigate the files and their contents. This is followed by a checklist for the easy/fast customization of Maneage to your exciting research. We continue with some tips and guidelines on how to manage or extend your project as it grows based on our experiences with it so far. The main body concludes with a description of possible future improvements that are planned for Maneage (but not yet implemented). As discussed above, we end with a short introduction on the necessity of reproducible science in the appendix.

Please don't forget to share your thoughts, suggestions and criticisms. Maintaining and designing Maneage is itself a separate project, so please join us if you are interested. Once it is mature enough, we will describe it in a paper (written by all contributors) for a formal introduction to the community.

Next: Citation and published projects using Maneage, Up: About