ReprohackNL 2019: how libraries can promote research reproducibility through community engagement
Keywords:Open Science, reproducibility, hackathon, grassroot initiative, community engagement
University Libraries play a crucial role in moving towards Open Science, contributing to more transparent, reproducible and reusable research. The Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS) at Leiden University (LU) library is a scholarly lab that promotes open science literacy among Leiden’s scholars by two complementary strategies: existing top-down structures are used to provide training and services, while bottom-up initiatives from the research community are actively supported by offering the CDS’s expertise and facilities. An example of how bottom-up initiatives can blossom with the help of library structures such as the CDS is ReproHack. ReproHack – a reproducibility hackathon – is a grass-root initiative by young scholars with the goal of improving research reproducibility in three ways. First, hackathon attendees learn about reproducibility tools and challenges by reproducing published results and providing feedback to authors on their attempt. Second, authors can nominate their work and receive feedback on their reproducibility efforts. Third, the collaborative atmosphere helps building a community interested in making their own research reproducible.
A first ReproHack in the Netherlands took place on November 30th, 2019, co-organised by the CDS at the LU Library with 44 participants from the fields of psychology, engineering, biomedicine, and computer science. For 19 papers, 24 feedback forms were returned and five papers were reported as successfully reproduced. Besides the researchers’ learning experience, the event led to recommendations on how to enhance research reproducibility. The ReproHack format therefore provides an opportunity for libraries to improve scientific reproducibility through community engagement.