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Re: st: To Stata programmers - All programs should provide references


From   Maarten buis <maartenbuis@yahoo.co.uk>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   Re: st: To Stata programmers - All programs should provide references
Date   Thu, 22 Nov 2007 15:30:03 +0000 (GMT)

--- tiago.pereira@incor.usp.br wrote:
> First, most packages (at least those I have used) fail to provide
> references and detail on how their estimates are obtained (formulae).
> 
> For instance, the program -genhwcci- estimates a standard error for a
> estimate called disequilibrium coefficient (D), but no reference is
> given to show to the users where the formulae come from.

It is not uncommon for the help-file to contain a section called
references. I agree with Tiago that adding such a section is good
practice.
 
> Second, before being available for general users, Stata programs
> (i.e. those availabe in SSC or elsewhere) are extensively validated?
> As a reviewer, should one trust 100% in new user written Stata
> programs?

That depends on the programmer. I try checking my software against two
examples / datasets, and against a simulation, but I don't always live
up to my good intentions. Even if I do all the test, errors have still
seeped in. I would not know how to enforce rules on software validation
for user written software. Even if that were possible I don't know
whether that would be a good idea. The current situation means a larger
burden for the user, in the sense that they have to asses whether or
not to trust the results. However I would be worried that any attempt
to regulate user written software would just diminish production of
software. Sometimes, a user written program needs to grow with input
from other users. A more useful approach would be a list of tips and
tricks on software validation. 

-- Maarten

-----------------------------------------
Maarten L. Buis
Department of Social Research Methodology
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Boelelaan 1081
1081 HV Amsterdam
The Netherlands

visiting address:
Buitenveldertselaan 3 (Metropolitan), room Z434

+31 20 5986715

http://home.fsw.vu.nl/m.buis/
-----------------------------------------


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