Low availability of code in ecology: A call for urgent action
by Antica Culina, Ilona van den Berg, Simon Evans, Alfredo Sánchez-Tójar
Access to analytical code is essential for transparent and reproducible research. We review the state of code availability in ecology using a random sample of 346 nonmolecular articles published between 2015 and 2019 under mandatory or encouraged code-sharing policies. Our results call for urgent action to increase code availability: only 27% of eligible articles were accompanied by code. In contrast, data were available for 79% of eligible articles, highlighting that code availability is an important limiting factor for computational reproducibility in ecology. Although the percentage of ecological journals with mandatory or encouraged code-sharing policies has increased considerably, from 15% in 2015 to 75% in 2020, our results show that code-sharing policies are not adhered to by most authors. We hope these results will encourage journals, institutions, funding agencies, and researchers to address this alarming situation.
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