Computational reproducibility in geoscientific papers: Insights from a series of studies with geoscientists and a reproduction study
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Description: Reproducibility is a cornerstone of science and thus for geographic research as well. However, studies in other disciplines such as biology have shown that published work is rarely reproducible. To assess the state of reproducibility, specifically computational reproducibility (i.e. rerunning the analysis of a paper using the original code), in geographic research, we asked geoscientists about this topic using three methods: a survey (n = 146), interviews (n = 9), and a focus group (n = 5). We asked participants about their understanding of open reproducible research (ORR), how much it is practiced, and what obstacles hinder ORR. We found that participants had different understandings of ORR and that there are several obstacles for authors and readers (e.g. effort, lack of openness). Then, in order to complement the subjective feedback from the participants, we tried to reproduce the results of papers that use spatial statistics to address problems in the geosciences. We selected 41 open access papers from Copernicus and Journal of Statistical Software and executed the R code. In doing so, we identified several technical issues and specific issues with the reproduced figures depicting the results. Based on these findings, we propose guidelines for authors to overcome the issues around reproducibility in the computational geosciences.