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st: Re: St: stataweave

From   Neil Shephard <>
Subject   st: Re: St: stataweave
Date   Mon, 23 Feb 2009 17:26:06 +0000

David Airey wrote:
> .
> I think if reproducible research is made more accessible and easy, and yet flexible enough for both PDF and HTML reporting, more people will do it, rather than copy and paste. That's a worthy goal.

It is indeed a worthy goal, but I think its not entierly down to those
who write software to simplify the process.

The reluctance to take up such an approach is in part down to the
users who aren't willing to put the effort into learning something
new, but instead are happy to plod along copying and pasting with the
software they were taught at school/picked up what was available.
Certainly my current line manager encourages this approach in others
(I ignore it and write up my work as self-contained reports in LaTeX,
providing separate tables (as *.csv) and figures (as stand-alone
graphics) for anything that is required in other people's work).

After all there becomes a trade-off point where the amount of effort
going into making things "accessible and easy" isn't much when you are
trying to do so for something thats relatively simple.  However,
applying the same principle to a more complex process such as
"Sweaving" results in diminishing returns for those who are tasked
with doing the simplification.  That is to say they could spend a
long, long time trying to make something which requires the end user
to learn a little bit, when realistically the end user should learn
how to do that, and the people tasked with simplifying things could be
working more productively elsewhere (e.g. longtables's).


"The combination of some data and an aching desire for an answer does
not ensure that a reasonable answer can be extracted from a given body
of data." ~ John Tukey

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