Robin Long

4825668491_2d9d7902c2_z.jpgBy M. H. Beals, Catherine Jones, Geraint Palmer, Mike Jackson, Henry Wilde, John Hammersley, Daniel Grose, Robin Long, Adrian-Tudor Panescu, Kirstie Whitaker

This post is part of the Collaborations Workshops 2018 speed blogging series.

What does reproducible mean? Who do we want to help and support by making our research reproducible? At what point does non-reproducible research become good enough (and carries on to the highest standards of reproducibility?)

In our discussions during the first speed blogging session at the Software Sustainability Institute’s Collaborations Workshop in Cardiff in March 2018, we brainstormed criteria for judging the quality of reproducible research. What emerged were two clear messages: 1) We all have our own overlapping definitions of the desirable features of reproducible research, and 2) there is no great benefit in rehashing old discussions.

In this blog post we outline 9 criteria that can be met by reproducible research. We believe that meeting as many of these as possible is moving in the right direction. Source code and data availability are often seen as important requirements, but documenting what code is trying to achieve, which other software libraries are required to run the code, the greater research ecosystem, what lessons were learned in the development of the…

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12136957446_c5ed33d53c_z.jpgBy Robin Long, Lancaster University.

My proposal when applying for the Software Sustainability Institute’s Fellowship was to engage with all researchers at my institute, and get them talking about software, sustainable software, and best practices.  As with all plans, they changed along the way—a lack of time forced me to go from a piece meal department by department interaction to an all out “let’s get everyone together in one room”. I will admit there were many fears at the beginning (will they come, will they like it, will I forget something). It all came together well, people seemed to enjoy themselves, and the discussions were encouraging and insightful. The final good sign of a meeting is the requests for another, and people asking me to give more tutorials.  Let us now step back to the beginning and look at how the event was organised and how it went. Hopefully, this will encourage new fellows to branch out of their comfort zones and have the confidence to run their own events.

Initial Plans

As part of my fellowship with the Software Sustainability Institute, I had planned to try and give talks to all departments about sustainable and reproducible software. After a hectic year, I found myself running out of time to be able to do this and conduct the training I had planned to do. I knew I had to change the plans and was thinking of ways to do this—…

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Senior Research Associate, Department of Physics, Lancaster University


My interests are in particle physics and programming. I use my coding skills to solve research and development problems related to Physics and High-End Computing.  This involves working with a variety of people at different career stages in several disciplines which I enjoy.

My work

My background is as a Particle Physicist. During my PhD I did an end-to-end analysis of the high mass objects decaying to top - anti-top pairs in the ATLAS experiment. I spent a lot of my time coding and providing support to colleagues with their code. This lead me to my current role maintaining and developing the High End Computing cluster at Lancaster University alongside my colleagues. This is part local computing cluster and part Lancaster's contribution to the World Wide distributed computing grid used for Particle Physics.

Throughout my PhD I found that not only did I enjoy the challenge of programming as much as i enjoyed the physics, I also enjoyed helping people write better code.  In my current job I provide support to local users of the grid computing system, not only ensuring their code runs on the grid, but also in developing the code they need for their research.

My research is motivated by a talk I heard early on in my career about using virtual machines to allow us to preserve old programs, and re-run old analysis on long gone operating systems. This lead me to looking at the use of virtual machines and containers as…

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