UCC Case Study of Good Practice Symposium 2024

Posted on:30 May 2024

Cystic Fibrosis Research Award

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Reproducible Research by Dr Brendan Palmer

Locally, the UCC 5-year strategic plan seeks to “take a coordinated, holistic approach to embedding principles and practices of open research”. This is positioned within a research environment where national and international funders require that the data and methods underlying research findings should be used to their maximum potential, that is to say, be made open.

Good data stewardship, analysis and reporting are fundamental to good research practice. Through the development of postgraduate module PG6030-Reproducible research practices using R, the Statistics, Data & Analysis Unit (SDAU) have sought to develop a training module that provides an approachable route towards open research through the medium of the R programming language, itself a highly transferable skill. Throughout, the focus is upon improving research skills within the context of open research best practice. Delivered by Dr Brendan Palmer, Senior Manager of Data Services, and Dr Darren Dahly, Principal Statistician, the module draws on a range of experiences that provide a roadmap towards enactment of data management processes from the outset of a project.

Since Summer 2020, more than 300 postgraduate students from across the four Colleges and all research institutes in UCC have participated in module. It combines asynchronous learning materials with regular online and in-person tutorials. Participants are taught the importance of data quality emphasising the need to continuously incorporate the principles and practice of research integrity. From there, key learnings delivered by staff from the Clinical Research Facility – UCC are dispensed over 4 weeks. The core components include data management, data handling, data visualisation and reporting, all founded upon reproducible analytical pipelines.


Anonymous feedback from students consistently speaks of direct application of the lessons to their work. We have recently begun to identify past students, now engaged in post-doctoral research, who have published their data, analysis and findings on open research platforms.


Student feedback, December 2023:The way that the course was structured – I was impressed that despite knowing nothing I was gradually building into knowledge without it feeling super difficult. The coding while watching the video was so so helpful”.


The module is open PhD and Master by Research students for credit. UCC staff can also avail of this resource. Potential attendees are encouraged to email in the first instance to register interest. The module is run bi-annually in late Spring and late Autumn.


For a copy of  Dr. Palmer’s Case Study submission: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Reproducible Research: PG6030 – Reproducible Research Practices Using R, click here.


Coronavirus (COVID-19)

In light of the Covid-19 situation, in advance of attending for a scheduled patient visit, please confirm the visit with your research nurse.