Opening Reproducible Research (ORR):
Two two-year researcher positions

Open science refers to a trend in science that the act of doing research becomes more open and transparent. When science transforms to open access we mean access to papers, research data being collected, data being generated, access to the procedures carried out in the research paper, even to the computational environment that was used, in order to reproduce and inspect the findings in the paper. Reproducibility of research findings, the ability to repeat experimental procedures and confirm previously found results, is at the heart of the scientific method. For many sciences the reproduction involves the replication of an experimental set up, e.g. in the lab or a field mission to collect data. Increasingly, scientific results are generated by numerical manipulation of data that were already collected, and may involve simulation experiments that are completely carried out computationally.

In the project Opening Reproducible Research (ORR) we directly aim for the main aspects of open access, by improving the exchange of, by facilitating productive access to and by simplifying reuse of research results that are published over the Internet. The experimentally oriented proposal ORR aims at both the publication process and the reuse of publications, but combines these goals by setting a clear innovation in the area of reproducible research, a goal that has extraordinary meaning for scientific publication. Central to the proposal is a new form for creating and providing research results, the executable research compendium (ERC), which not only enables third parties to reproduce the original research and hence recreate the original research results (figures, tables), but also facilitates interaction with them and recombining them with new data or methods. The container format that species the ERC will store all information required by different applications (e.g. one-click reproduce, long-term archive, research information systems, discovery purposes) and thus guarantees use independent from original information systems. Building on existing open standards and software, this project will develop standards and tools for ERCs and demonstrate and evaluate these based on fully-fledged case studies, initially taken from the geosciences domain. ORR will make a step forward towards interactive executable papers as a new standard in scientific publication. This project is initially funded for two years. Upon successful progress, there is the possibility for three more years of funding. We are searching for two researchers at the Institute for Geoinformatics, who will closely cooperate with the university library of the University of Münster to open reproducible research.

Position 1: reproduction of research; 1.0 full time equivalent (TV-L E 13 scale 100%), 2 years

The first researcher will focus on the formalisation and standardisation of an ERC, on developing and implementing a validation service for ERCs, and on providing and developing the use cases needed to showcase and evaluate the approach. Part of this work area is to capture and describe the workflow of open reproducible research in detail. The validation service helps researchers, curators, reviewers, publishers and end-users to validate the ERC content, and by that to execute the executable parts of the research compendium and verify its consistency with the results obtained by the authors. The validation will support two different use case types: (i) where the data and script are run in an R environment, and (ii) where the data and script come with a complete run-time environment in the form of a docker container image. The candidate we search has a strong background in geoinformatics or computer science, a good understanding of data analysis and visualisation, a strong interest in the scientific method, and a broad scientific interest. The candidate should ideally be familiar with the R environment for statistical computing, and have some understanding of modern virtualisation technology. Being able to interact efficiently in an English-speaking environment is another strongly desirable trait. A Master degree in computer science, geoinformatics or a related discipline is required. The position can be filled with either a person, who wishes to acquire a PhD, or a postdoctoral researcher.

Position 2: usability, interaction and discovery;
1.0 full time equivalent researcher (TV-L E 13 100%), 2 years

The person filling this position will predominately focus on the user-related aspects and user interfaces of the tools developed to support the creation of ERCs and the publication process. Key work associated with this position is split into three interacting themes. Theme one relates to identifying the specific needs of scientists and other groups with respect to the publication process for open access and reproducibility. Theme two focuses on the design, development and evaluation of interfaces to produce and use individual ERCs in a variety of ways. The third theme will look at how the discovery and re-use of ERCs can be improved using the information contained within an ERC and develops intuitive interfaces for this purpose. It is envisioned that a user-centred design approach will be used to carry out the work describe above. In addition, collaboration on the topics driven by position 1 and the library will be expected. The ideal candidate to fill this position will have a strong background in computer science, geoinformatics or a related discipline in general and in human-computer interaction, interaction design and/or (geo-)visualization specifically. Essential skills for this position also include a thorough knowledge in at least one programming language, preferably more, including web technologies. In addition, the person should be able to work well in an interdisciplinary team. Being able to interact efficiently in an English-speaking environment is another strongly desirable trait. A Master degree in computer science, geoinformatics or a related discipline is required. The position can be filled with either a person, who wishes to acquire a PhD, or a postdoctoral researcher.

General information
The research positions will be paid according to scale TVL 13. Start of the employment contracts is planned on Jan 1st 2016, or the earliest possible date after that. The University of Münster is an equal-opportunity employer and is committed to increasing the proportion of female academics. Consequently, we actively encourage applications by women. Female candidates with equivalent qualifications and academic achievements will be preferentially considered within the framework of the legal possibilities. We also welcome applications from candidates with severe disabilities. Disabled candidates with equivalent qualifications will be preferentially considered.

Please submit your application by post and e-mail together with the usual documents (curriculum vitae, publication list, names of two referees) by October 15, 2015 to the following address:

Prof. Dr. Edzer Pebesma
Institute for Geoinformatics
Heisenbergstrasse 2
48149 Münster