Dr Roxanne Connelly, 2022
Even in a well-written methods section of a journal article, research report, or dissertation it is impossible to share details of every analytical decision that has been made. Often there are elements of analysis (e.g. sensitivity analyses, or model building) that you might not have space to fully present in the final ‘write up’ of your work. One way to promote the transparency and reproducibility of social science research is by sharing the research code associated with a piece of statistical analyses.
Students completing a dissertation as part of their Undergraduate or Masters research are often required to submit their work anonymously. You might consider attaching your code as an appendix to your dissertation. However, the code required to prepare and analyse ‘real’ social science datasets will probably extend to hundreds if not thousands of lines. This will make your dissertation unwieldy and is not the recommended approach.
We would generally recommend that good places to share your research code are the Open Science Framework (OSF) or GitHub. If you upload your code to these repositories and simply share a link, it will not be anonymous. However, there are straightforward ways to share your code anonymously using either OSF or GitHub.
The OSF provides a facility to share a ‘view only’ link for a project page. This facility is usually used by researchers who wish to share their code, or other elements of a project, anonymously when submitting their work for peer review (e.g. when seeking to publish a journal article). In the methods section of your dissertation you can note that the code associated with your analysis is available on an OSF page, and provide the anonymous ‘view only’ link.
You should also ensure that the content of your code files are anonymous. For example, you might wish to check whether file path locations include your name. Sharing your research code is excellent practice, and demonstrates your commitment to undertaking high quality statistical social science research which can be fully scrutinised, duplicated and replicated by others. Sharing the many lines of code associated with your analysis will also ensure that your hard work does not go unnoticed!
- Instructions for how to set up an OSF project page are available here.
- Instructions for how to upload code files to an OSF project page are available here.
- Instructions for how to create a ‘view only’ link for a project page are available here.
- It is also possible to share an anonymised link to a GitHub page, although the process is slightly more complex, instructions are available here.