A team of Web and Internet Science (WAIS) researchers, from Electronics and Computer Science at Southampton, has been working with statistical colleagues at the Centre for Multilevel Modelling, University of Bristol, to develop new software technology that allows UK students and young researchers to access reproducible statistical research.
In this talk I will review a few examples of reproducibility challenges in computational environments and discuss their potential effects. Based on discussions in a recent Dagstuhl seminar we will identify different types of reproducibility. Here, we will focus specifically on what we gain from them, rather than seeing them merely as means to an end. We subsequently will address two core challenges impacting reproducibility, namely (1) understanding and automatically capturing process context and provenance information, and (2) approaches allowing us to deal with dynamically evolving data sets relying on recommendation of the Research Data Alliance (RDA). The goal is to raise awareness of reproducibility challenges and show ways how these can be addressed with minimal impact on the researchers via research infrastructures offering according services.
A team of scientists including Stanford’s John Ioannidis, MD, DSc, has proposed a set of principles to improve the transparency and reproducibility of computational methods used in all areas of research. The group’s summary of those principles, known as the Reproducibility Enhancement Principles, was published recently in a paper in Science.
Over the past two decades, computational methods have radically changed the ability of researchers from all areas of scholarship to process and analyze data and to simulate complex systems. But with these advances come challenges that are contributing to broader concerns over irreproducibility in the scholarly literature, among them the lack of transparency in disclosure of computational methods. Current reporting methods are often uneven, incomplete, and still evolving. We present a novel set of Reproducibility Enhancement Principles (REP) targeting disclosure challenges involving computation. These recommendations, which build upon more general proposals from the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) guidelines (1) and recommendations for field data (2), emerged from workshop discussions among funding agencies, publishers and journal editors, industry participants, and researchers representing a broad range of domains. Although some of these actions may be aspirational, we believe it is important to recognize and move toward ameliorating irreproducibility in computational research.
Scientists propose a modified critical incident reporting system to help combat the reproducibility crisis.When Dirnagl first considered that his lab might benefit from a formal incident reporting system, he was surprised to find that no such system existed for biomedical researchers. Other high-stakes fields, from clinical medicine to nuclear power research, have long had such systems in place, but for the preclinical space, "we had to create one, because there’s nothing like it," Dirnagl said. But once Dirnagl and colleagues introduced an anonymous, online system, people began submitting reports. At meetings, the team would discuss what had gone wrong and strategize how to fix it. After a short while, Dirnagl said, his team began voluntarily filing virtually all reports with their signatures on them.
The week at Retraction Watch featured a refreshingly honest retraction, and a big win for PubPeer. Here’s what was happening elsewhere.