Project introduction: Reproducible Research Oxford

Guest post by Laura Fortunato (project lead)

Reproducible Research Oxford is a project based at the University of Oxford, launched in October 2016. The project aims to lay the groundwork for a culture of research reproducibility across the University, focusing on training in the effective use of computational tools in research. These tools are widely used in some disciplines, and they can enable researchers to easily track the process leading from data to results, so that it is fully reproducible. However, researchers often lack the opportunities, incentives and confidence to make best use of these tools.

As part of the project, we have set up a partnership between the University and Software and Data Carpentry, non-profit volunteer organisations focused on teaching researchers across disciplines the computing and data skills they need for effective and reproducible research. Since the start of the project, we have ran four Software Carpentry workshops, one Data Carpentry workshop — the first to be held in Oxford! — and we have hosted the first Oxford-based Software/Data Carpentry instructor training. So far, we have provided training to upwards of 100 learners from across the University who attended our workshops, in addition to 12 Oxford-based trainee instructors.

The project is supported by the IT Innovation Challenges scheme and the Social Sciences Division, with grants to Laura Fortunato. It is based in the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography and the Oxford e-Research Centre, with members drawn from across the University. Additional funding has come from ELIXIR-UK, the UK node of the European infrastructure for life science information, who have identified a small number of institutions in the UK that they wish to support in delivering training in effective research computing. This has allowed us to extend the partnership between the University and Software/Data Carpentry for a year. We are extremely grateful to the Software Sustainability Institute for facilitating this opportunity!

Extending the partnership through October 2018 will enable four additional Software/Data Carpentry workshops open to staff, researchers, and students across the University (catering to upwards of 120 learners). It will also enable the training of an additional six instructors based in Oxford. This will help consolidate the local capacity built over the first year of the project, ensuring that activities are self-sustaining in the future.

We are now planning a series of workshops for the coming months, and coordinating instructor training — check the events page on our website, subscribe to our mailing list, and follow us on Twitter @RR_Oxford for announcements!

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