To share or not to share: code sharing in social science


Bio: Louise Corti is Head of Insights, Development and Impact for the Secure Research Service, at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), joining this year. For 20 years she was Associate Director at the UK Data Archive, UK Data Service, where she directed a range of operations across the research and data lifecycle concerning the sharing, curation and reuse of data in the social sciences. Louise has sat on a number of international advisory boards for social science data services and is co-author of the handbook on Managing and Sharing Research Data: A Guide to Good Practice.

Bio: "Felix Ritchie is an applied economist, at UWE since 2012 following a varied career in the public and private sectors as well as academia. His main research interests are: - labour economics, especially low pay and career transitions - data governance - data access and management - data quality - statistical disclosure control"

Bio: "Martin is Director of Research Engineering at the Turing, leading a team of research software engineers and research data scientists working with researchers to increase the impact of research software and data science analyses by making these reusable, reliable and robust. Martin has a strong interest in enabling researchers to work safely, securely and productively with sensitive data, co-leading work on the Institute's cloud-based secure research environment, as well as a project evaluating techniques for generating synthetic datasets, to understand if these can effectively replace more sensitive datasets for some aspects of the data science analysis workflow. He also has a strong interest in reproducible research and, as a member of the Turing Way community and the Institute's Tools, Practices and Systems programme, is working to improve the tools and working practices available at the Turing to make it easier for researchers to work reproducibly."

Sharing code in quantitative social science is good research practice but is still limited. Researchers benefit from publishing code that underpins their analytic findings; helping to demonstrate trust and reproducibility. Researchers benefit from having access to syntax for derived variables created by data owners; and to code repositories on which to build new code.   How can we facilitate and encourage better sharing practices? Voluntarily sharing is a first positive step; but how far should we go towards validating code or mandating reproducibility? How can we best support capacity building in this area? What about the challenges of reproducing work undertaken in safe havens; where data access may be limited?   Professor Felix Ritchie; Professor of Applied Economics; University of West England and Martin O‚ÄôReilly; Director of Research Engineering; Alan Turing Institute will present their views in conversation with Louise Corti; Head of Insights; Impact and Development; Office for National Statistics.

Please see our blog post and transcript of this session.