Authors : Evanthia Kaimaklioti Samota, Robert P. Davey
We constructed a survey to understand how authors and scientists view the issues around reproducibility, focusing on interactive elements such as interactive figures embedded within online publications, as a solution for enabling the reproducibility of experiments.
We report the views of 251 researchers, comprising authors who have published in eLIFE Sciences, and those who work at the Norwich Biosciences Institutes (NBI). The survey also outlines to what extent researchers are occupied with reproducing experiments themselves. Currently, there is an increasing range of tools that attempt to address the production of reproducible research by making code, data, and analyses available to the community for reuse. We wanted to collect information about attitudes around the consumer end of the spectrum, where life scientists interact with research outputs to interpret scientific results.
Static plots and figures within articles are a central part of this interpretation, and therefore we asked respondents to consider various features for an interactive figure within a research article that would allow them to better understand and reproduce a published analysis.
The majority (91%) of respondents reported that when authors describe their research methodology (methods and analyses) in detail, published research can become more reproducible. The respondents believe that having interactive figures in published papers is a beneficial element to themselves, the papers they read as well as to their readers.
Whilst interactive figures are one potential solution for consuming the results of research more effectively to enable reproducibility, we also review the equally pressing technical and cultural demands on researchers that need to be addressed to achieve greater success in reproducibility in the life sciences.