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Working draft of a paper which analyses the geospatial footprint of eco-groups in the UK
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Mapping Environmental Action

Why Reproducible Research?

If you're new to github and reproducible research, welcome! It's nice to have you here. Github is ordinarily a place where software developers working on open source software projects deposit their code as they write software collaboratively. However, in recent years a number of scholarly researchers, especially people working on research which involves a digital component (including me!) have begun to deposit their papers in these same software repositories. The idea here is that you can download all of the source-code and data used in this paper alongside the actual text, run it yourself and "reproduce" the results. This can serve as a useful safeguard, a layer of research transparency, and a cool teaching tool for other persons interested in doing similar work.

Eschewing proprietary, expensive and unreliable software like Microsoft Word, I write in a combination of two languages: (1) Markdown which is intended to be as close as possible to plain text while still allowing for things like boldfaced type, headings and footnotes; and (2) a programming language called R to do all the data analysis. R is an object oriented language which was specifically designed for statistical analysis. It's also great fun to tinker with. As you look through this paper, you'll see that R code is integrated into the text of the document. This is indicated by a series of three backticks (```). There is a formal specification now at a mature stage of development, which is RMarkdown. You can read semi-official specification for this here.

To read a bit more on these things and start on your own path towards plain text reproducible research, I highly recommend:

The other advantage of putting this paper here is that readers and reviewers can suggest changes and point out errors in the document. To do this, I recommend that you create a github issue by clicking on the green "New issue" button here. If you must, you can also send me emails. More stuff about me can be found here.

To skip ahead and start reading the actual paper, click on mapping_draft.rmd above.

Now for...

The quick technical version

This repository contains the code and writing towards a (working draft of a) scholarly paper which presents my analysis of the geospatial footprint of eco-groups in the UK. This is based on research I have been conducting since 2013 and which is ongoing. The paper is written in R Markdown and for the most part, I'm using the conventions outlined by Kieran Healy here and is best viewed (I think) in R Studio though it will be reasonably comprehensible to anyone using a Markdown editor. If I'm not working in RStudio, I'm probably in Sublime text, FYI. Co-authors and collaborators take note, generally, I use Hadley Wickham's venerable R Style Guide.

I'd be extremely happy if someone found errors, or imagined a more efficient means of analysis and either reported them as an issue on this github repository or sent me an email.

The actual article is in mapping_draft.Rmd and can be compiled using knitr (assuming you have R installed as well as required packages) using the script provided

Note: actual execution may take over an hour, as calls to st_buffer and st_within under wilderness_data_prep are computationally intensive. To compile more briskly, I recommend you comment out this final section and knit the markdown/html files.

Paths in this folder are used mostly for R processing. Towards this end folders have the following significance:

  • data contains datasets used for analysis.
  • derived_data contains files which represent modified forms of files in the above path.
  • figures contains images and visualisations (graphic files) which are generated by R for the final form of the document.
  • cache isn't included in github but is usually used for working files

Note: none of the contents of the above are included in the github repository unless they are unavailable from an external repository.

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