Report on the First IEEE Workshop on the Future of Research Curation and Research Reproducibility

This report describes perspectives from the Workshop on the Future of Research Curation and Research Reproducibility that was collaboratively sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) in November 2016. The workshop brought together stakeholders including researchers, funders, and notably, leading science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) publishers. The overarching objective was a deep dive into new kinds of research products and how the costs of creation and curation of these products can be sustainably borne by the agencies, publishers, and researcher communities that were represented by workshop participants. The purpose of this document is to describe the ideas that participants exchanged on approaches to increasing the value of all research by encouraging the archiving of reusable data sets, curating reusable software, and encouraging broader dialogue within and across disciplinary boundaries. How should the review and publication processes change to promote reproducibility? What kinds of objects should the curatorial process expand to embrace? What infrastructure is required to preserve the necessary range of objects associated with an experiment? Who will undertake this work? And who will pay for it? These are the questions the workshop was convened to address in presentations, panels, small working groups, and general discussion.

Dugong: a Docker image, based on Ubuntu Linux, focused on reproducibility and replicability for bioinformatics analyses

Summary: This manuscript introduces and describes Dugong, a Docker image based on Ubuntu 16.04, which automates installation of more than 3500 bioinformatics tools (along with their respective libraries and dependencies), in alternative computational environments. The software operates through a user-friendly XFCE4 graphic interface that allows software management and installation by users not fully familiarized with the Linux command line and provides the Jupyter Notebook to assist in the delivery and exchange of consistent and reproducible protocols and results across laboratories, assisting in the development of open science projects.

Enabling reproducible real-time quantitative PCR research: the RDML package

Reproducibility, a cornerstone of research, requires defined data formats, which include the set-up and output of experiments. The Real-time PCR Data Markup Language (RDML) is a recommended standard of the Minimum Information for Publication of Quantitative Real-Time PCR Experiments (MIQE) guidelines. Despite the popularity of the RDML format for analysis of qPCR data, handling of RDML files is not yet widely supported in all PCR curve analysis softwares. Results: This study describes the open source RDML package for the statistical computing language R.RDML is compatible with RDML versions ≤ 1.2 and provides functionality to (i) import RDML data; (ii) extract sample information (e.g., targets, concentration); (iii) transform data to various formats of the R environment; (iv) generate human readable run summaries; and (v) to create RDML files from user data. In addition, RDML offers a graphical user interface to read, edit and create RDML files.

American Geophysical Union Coalition Receives Grant to Advance Open and FAIR Data Standards in the Earth and Space Sciences

To address this critical need, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation has awarded a grant to a coalition of groups representing the international Earth and space science community, convened by the American Geophysical Union (AGU), to develop standards that will connect researchers, publishers, and data repositories in the Earth and space sciences to enable FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable) data – a concept first developed by Force11.org – on a large scale. This will accelerate scientific discovery and enhance the integrity, transparency, and reproducibility of this data. The resulting set of best practices will include: metadata and identifier standards; data services; common taxonomies; landing pages at repositories to expose the metadata and standard repository information; standard data citation; and standard integration into editorial peer review workflows.

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  • The Practice of Reproducible Research

    This book contains a collection of 31 case studies of reproducible research workflows, written by academic researchers in the data-intensive sciences. Each case study describes how the author combined specific tools, ideas, and practices in order to complete a real-world research project. Emphasis is placed on the practical aspects of how the author organized his or her research to make it as reproducible as possible.

    The Sacred Infrastructure for Computational Research

    We present a toolchain for computational research consisting of Sacred and two supporting tools. Sacred is an open source Python framework which aims to provide basic infrastructure for running computational experiments independent of the methods and libraries used. Instead, it focuses on solving universal everyday problems, such as managing configurations, reproducing results, and bookkeeping. Moreover, it provides an extensible basis for other tools, two of which we present here: Labwatch helps with tuning hyperparameters, and Sacredboard provides a web-dashboard for organizing and analyzing runs and results.

    The Recomputation Manifesto

    Replication of scientific experiments is critical to the advance of science. Unfortunately, the discipline of Computer Science has never treated replication seriously, even though computers are very good at doing the same thing over and over again. Not only are experiments rarely replicated, they are rarely even replicable in a meaningful way. Scientists are being encouraged to make their source code available, but this is only a small step. Even in the happy event that source code can be built and run successfully, running code is a long way away from being able to replicate the experiment that code was used for. I propose that the discipline of Computer Science must embrace replication of experiments as standard practice. I propose that the only credible technique to make experiments truly replicable is to provide copies of virtual machines in which the experiments are validated to run. I propose that tools and repositories should be made available to make this happen. I propose to be one of those who makes it happen.

    noWorkflow: a Tool for Collecting, Analyzing, and Managing Provenance from Python Scripts

    We present noWorkflow, an open-source tool that systematically and transparently collects provenance from Python scripts, including data about the script execution and how the script evolves over time. During the demo, we will show how noWorkflow collects and manages provenance, as well as how it supports the analysis of computational experiments.We will also encourage attendees to use noWorkflow for their own scripts.

    Using ReproZip for Reproducibility and Library Services

    Achieving research reproducibility is challenging in many ways: there are social and cultural obstacles as well as a constantly changing technical landscape that makes replicating and reproducing research difficult. Users face challenges in reproducing research across different operating systems, in using different versions of software across long projects and among collaborations, and in using publicly available work. The dependencies required to reproduce the computational environments in which research happens can be exceptionally hard to track – in many cases, these dependencies are hidden or nested too deeply to discover, and thus impossible to install on a new machine, which means adoption remains low. In this paper, we present ReproZip, an open source tool to help overcome the technical difficulties involved in preserving and replicating research, applications, databases, software, and more. We examine the current use cases of ReproZip, ranging from digital humanities to machine learning. We also explore potential library use cases for ReproZip, particularly in digital libraries and archives, liaison librarianship, and other library services. We believe that libraries and archives can leverage ReproZip to deliver more robust reproducibility services, repository services, as well as enhanced discoverability and preservation of research materials, applications, software, and computational environments.