Laying groundwork for culture of research reproducibility

Laying groundwork for culture of research reproducibility

Centre staff are collaborating on a new Oxford University project which aims to lay the groundwork for a culture of research reproducibility.

Reproducible Research Oxford, led by Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology Laura Fortunato, is supported by the IT Innovation Fund and will focus on training University staff, students and researchers in the effective use of computational tools in research.

The Centre's Dr Wes Armour, Iain Emsley, Dr Alejandra Gonzalez-Beltran, Dr Philippe Rocca-Serra and Pip Willcox are part of a team of Oxford researchers and staff who are passionate about research reproducibility and open research and aim to bring together expertise in these areas from across the University.

The project focus is on training people in the effective use of computational tools in research. To this end, the project has set up a partnership with Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry, non-profit volunteer organisations focused on teaching researchers from all disciplines the computing and data skills they need for effective and reproducible research. The team will coordinate and deliver a series of free Carpentry workshops open to all across the University, and will also train Carpentry instructors to build local capacity in this area.

The team have already organised one successful Software Carpentry workshop in January, covering bash, git and Python, attended by around 25 University researchers, staff, and students, covering disciplines in the natural, medical and social sciences, and the humanities. One of the instructors, Philip Fowler, a senior researcher at the University, says:

"One of the key defining characteristics of Software Carpentry is that "everyone was a learner once", in other words, yesterday's learner is today's helper, who is tomorrow's instructor. So creating a core of instructors, along with running a series of workshops will, we hope, bootstrap the process within the University."

(Read Philip's full report from the workshop here).

The next Software Carpentry workshop will take place on 13th and 14th March 2017. The workshop is free and open to students, researchers, and staff of the University: register here.

For more information and information on future events see the project website and follow it on Twitter @RR_Oxford, or get in touch at ReproducibleResearchOxford@gmail.com.