I've decided to no longer review papers where the software is "available upon request from the authors". I'm sure the world will keep turning, but I just don't want to spend time reviewing this type of software.
You see, to my mind "available from the authors on request" means "not available at some indeterminate point in the future". If they actually wanted to make it available they would have put it up on the web somewhere. Ergo, since they haven't, it means...what exactly?
I don't get it. Ok, so there's probably an innocent explanation. Maybe this is how it was done in the good ole days ("Hey, the 80s are calling. They want a copy of that software you wrote"). All I know is that I don't want to spend an hour or whatever reviewing a manuscript that describes software which may vanish into thin air.
I'd be interested to know if you have a different view on this.
Image credit: Iain Farrell