Reproducibility, preservation, and access to research with ReproZip and ReproServer
Keywords:research reproducibility, digital preservation, access, reuse, data librarianship
The adoption of reproducibility remains low, despite incentives becoming increasingly common in different domains, conferences, and journals. The truth is, reproducibility is technically difficult to achieve due to the complexities of computational environments. To address these technical challenges, we created ReproZip, an open-source tool that automatically packs research along with all the necessary information to reproduce it, including data files, software, OS version, and environment variables. Everything is then bundled into an rpz file, which users can use to reproduce the work with ReproZip and a suitable unpacker (e.g.: using Vagrant or Docker). The rpz file is general and contains rich metadata: more unpackers can be added as needed, better guaranteeing long-term preservation. However, installing the unpackers can still be burdensome for secondary users of ReproZip bundles. In this paper, we will discuss how ReproZip and our new tool, ReproServer, can be used together to facilitate access to well-preserved, reproducible work. ReproServer is a web application that allows users to upload or provide a link to a ReproZip bundle, and then interact with/reproduce the contents from the comfort of their browser. Users are then provided a persistent link to the unpacked work on ReproServer which they can share with reviewers or colleagues.