Reference environments: A universal tool for reproducibility in computational biology
To enable reproducibility across computational biology, we demonstrate an approach and provide a set of tools that is suitable for all computational work and is not tied to a particular programming language or platform. We present published examples from a series of papers in different areas of computational biology, spanning the major languages and technologies in the field (Python/R/MATLAB/Fortran/C/Java). Our approach produces a transparent and flexible process for replication and recomputation of results. Ultimately, its most valuable aspect is the decoupling of methods in computational biology from their implementation. Separating the 'how' (method) of a publication from the 'where' (implementation) promotes genuinely open science and benefits the scientific community as a whole.