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Developing an Executable Paper With the Python in Heliophysics Community
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  • Shawn Polson,
  • Rebecca Ringuette,
  • Yihua Zheng,
  • Jonathan Niehof,
  • Eric Grimes,
  • Nicholas Murphy
Shawn Polson
Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics

Corresponding Author:shawn.polson@lasp.colorado.edu

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Rebecca Ringuette
ADNET Systems Inc.
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Yihua Zheng
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
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Jonathan Niehof
University of New Hampshire
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Eric Grimes
Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics Los Angeles
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Nicholas Murphy
Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian
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The reproducibility crisis was sparked five years ago by a Nature survey that revealed most researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments (Baker, 2016). Although the severity of the crisis is still being debated, it has spurred researchers to include reproducibility and open science practices in their work. To that end, the Python in Heliophysics Community (PyHC) encourages members of the heliophysics community to create “executable papers,” which are interactive pieces of software that combine text, data, and code to enable readers to reproduce every step taken to arrive at a publication’s conclusions. We describe the development of an executable paper—in this case, one centered around magnetopause boundary crossings in satellite data—our coordination efforts between scientists and software developers, and the current technology that makes this possible. We aim to promote this novel paper format and be an example to the heliophysics community of how scientists and software developers can work together to produce research that is transparent and reproducible.