Published November 29, 2023 | Version v1
Presentation Open

How can we get better at coding in the open?

  • 1. ROR icon The Alan Turing Institute


Kirstie's talk at The Office for National Statistics' Data Science Community Showcase on 29 November 2023.

Abstract: There are many reasons to work openly. "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow", and anyone can participate in creating and reusing the software. Together can build a more sustainable, accountable, fair, and explainable data science ecosystem, that is greater than any one individual, team or organisation could create themselves. It can be very hard to get started working openly though. We may not be incentivised to share our learnings, potentially eroding market advantage. We may feel vulnerable and exposed to put work that is not perfect or complete out into the world for anyone to see and comment on. There are socio-technical skills and interactions that can make the process challenging. In this talk, Kirstie will give an introduction to version control, linting, testing, code review, and maintenance of open source projects on GitHub. We may not solve the structural challenges in a 25 minute presentation, but we can take little steps towards feeling confident collaborating and creating with others. All attendees will be invited to join the 800+ members of the open source, open collaboration, and community-driven Turing Way community. Developed on GitHub under open source licences, our shared goal is to provide all the information that researchers and data scientists in academia, industry and the public sector need to confidently explore the benefits of open ways of working.

Bio: Dr Kirstie Whitaker is a passionate advocate for making science "open for all" by promoting equity and inclusion for people from diverse backgrounds. She leads the Tools, Practices and Systems research programme at The Alan Turing Institute, the UK's National Institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence. Kirstie founded The Turing Way, an openly developed educational resource that enables researchers and citizen scientists across government, industry, academia and third sector organisations to embed open source practices into their work. She holds a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of California at Berkeley, is a Fulbright scholarship alumna, and was a 2016/17 Mozilla Fellow for Science.

Useful links:

  • The Turing Way Book:
  • The Turing Way GitHub:
  • The Turing Way Slack:
  • The Turing Way Newsletter:
  • Event website:



This work was supported by The UKRI Strategic Priorities Fund under the EPSRC Grant EP/T001569/1, particularly the "Tools, Practices and Systems" theme within that grant, and by The Alan Turing Institute under the EPSRC grant EP/N510129/1.



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