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Title: Running an open experiment: transparency and reproducibility in soil and ecosystem science

Researchers in soil and ecosystem science, and almost every other field, are being pushed--by funders, journals, governments, and their peers--to increase transparency and reproducibility of their work. A key part of this effort is a move towards open data as a way to fight post-publication data loss, improve data and code quality, enable powerful meta- and cross-disciplinary analyses, and increase trust in, and the efficiency of, publicly-funded research. Many scientists however lack experience in, and may be unsure of the benefits of, making their data and fully-reproducible analyses publicly available. Here we describe a recent "open experiment", in which we documented every aspect of a soil incubation online, making all raw data, scripts, diagnostics, final analyses, and manuscripts available in real time. We found that using tools such as version control, issue tracking, and open-source statistical software improved data integrity, accelerated our team's communication and productivity, and ensured transparency. There are many avenues to improve scientific reproducibility and data availability, of which is this only one example, and it is not an approach suited for every experiment or situation. Nonetheless, we encourage the communities in our respective fields to consider its advantages, and to lead rather than follow with respectmore » to scientific reproducibility, transparency, and data availability.« less
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
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Journal Name: Environmental Research Letters, 11(8):084004
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
open science; soil science; global change; open data