Microsoft’s purchase of GitHub leaves some scientists uneasy

GitHub — a website that has become popular with scientists collaborating on research data and software — is to be acquired by Microsoft for US$7.5 billion. In the wake of the takeover announcement on 4 June, some scientists and programmers voiced concerns about the deal on social media. They fear that the site will become less open, or less useful for sharing and tracking scientific data, after the buyout. But others are hopeful that Microsoft’s stewardship will make the platform even more valuable. GitHub launched in 2008, and is now widely used to store, share and update data sets and software code. As of 13 June, more than 223,000 academic papers on Google Scholar cited the website, which is free to use for projects that release their code. One of the features that sets GitHub apart from many similar websites is its use of version-control software known as Git,

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