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Table 2 Recommendations for improving reproducibility practice

From: Where next for the reproducibility agenda in computational biology?

Software developers can:

• Use well thought-out and appropriate principles of modularity in designing software.

• Provide practical, comprehensive advice on installation. Check it by installing software on commonly-used systems, or simplify it using a platform such as Docker.

• Provide code annotation and manuals in multiple, accessible forms with different levels of detail.

Computational researchers can:

• Make use of dynamic and/or updatable formats for publishing research, where appropriate.

• Ensure they provide all details of how an analysis was carried out, including providing all the code and data necessary to reproduce a result. Context-specific minimum information guidelines can provide useful checklists.

• State explicitly what are the key features of a piece of published work, how to measure agreement when the work is reproduced, and how close the agreement is expected to be.

The computational biology community can:

• Introduce a “seal of approval” for good reproducibility practice including adherence to reporting checklists, which could be awarded to labs, individual researchers or particular pieces of software or research.

• Require adherence to appropriate minimum information checklists for publication in peer-reviewed journals and through other channels.

• Promote and campaign for education in good computational practice for scientists of all backgrounds, from undergraduate to professorial level.

• Provide structures and opportunities for networking, support and professional development of computational researchers.