Vicky Steeves (@VickySteeves) is the first Research Data Management and Reproducibility Librarian
Reproducibility is made so much more challenging because of computers, and the dominance of closed-source operating systems and analysis software researchers use. Ben Marwick wrote a great piece called ‘How computers broke science – and what we can do to fix it’ which details a bit of the problem. Basically, computational environments affect the outcome of analyses (Gronenschild et. al (2012) showed the same data and analyses gave different results between two versions of macOS), and are exceptionally hard to reproduce, especially when the license terms don’t allow it. Additionally, programs encode data incorrectly and studies make erroneous conclusions, e.g. Microsoft Excel encodes genes as dates, which affects 1/5 of published data in leading genome journals.
technology to capture computational environments, workflow, provenance, data, and code are hugely impactful for reproducibility. It’s been the focus of my work, in supporting an open source tool called ReproZip, which packages all computational dependencies, data, and applications in a single distributable package that other can reproduce across different systems. There are other tools that fix parts of this problem: Kepler and VisTrails for workflow/provenance, Packrat for saving specific R packages at the time a script is run so updates to dependencies won’t break, Pex for generating executable Python environments, and o2r for executable papers (including data, text, and code in one).
Visualizations of library data have been used to: • reveal relationships among subject areas for users. • illuminate circulation patterns. • suggest titles for weeding. • analyze citations and map scholarly communications
Each unit of data analyzed can be described as topical, asking “what.”6 • What is the number of courses offered in each major and minor? • What is expended in each subject area? • What is the size of the physical collection in each subject area? • What is student enrollment in each area? • What is the circulation in specific areas for one year?
libraries, if they are to survive, must rethink their collecting and service strategies in radical and possibly scary ways and to do so sooner rather than later. Anderson predicts that, in the next ten years, the “idea of collection” will be overhauled in favor of “dynamic access to a virtually unlimited flow of information products.” My note: in essence, the fight between Mark Vargas and the Acquisition/Cataloguing people
The library collection of today is changing, affected by many factors, such as demanddriven acquisitions, access, streaming media, interdisciplinary coursework, ordering enthusiasm, new areas of study, political pressures, vendor changes, and the individual faculty member following a focused line of research.
subject librarians may see opportunities in looking more closely at the relatively unexplored “intersection of circulation, interlibrary loan, and holdings.”
Using Visualizations to Address Library Problems
the difference between graphical representations of environments and knowledge visualization, which generates graphical representations of meaningful relationships among retrieved files or objects.
Exhaustive lists of data visualization tools include: • the DIRT Directory (http://dirtdirectory.org/categories/visualization) • Kathy Schrock’s educating through infographics (www.schrockguide.net/ infographics-as-an-assessment.html) • Dataviz list of online tools (www.improving-visualisation.org/case-studies/id=5)
p. 771 By looking at the data (my note – by visualizing the data), more questions are revealed, The visualizations provide greater comprehension than the two-dimensional “flatland” of the spreadsheets, in which valuable questions and insights are lost in the columns and rows of data.
By looking at data visualized in different combinations, library collection development teams can clearly compare important considerations in collection management: expenditures and purchases, circulation, student enrollment, and course hours. Library staff and administrators can make funding decisions or begin dialog based on data free from political pressure or from the influence of the squeakiest wheel in a department.