Low availability of code in ecology: A call for urgent action

A. Culina (Corresponding author), Ilona van den Berg, Simon Evans, Alfredo Sánchez-Tójar (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)
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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.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3000763
Number of pages9
JournalPLoS Biology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Plan_S-Compliant_OA
  • international


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