Making science reproducible @nextjournal

Launch: Nextjournal Public Beta

I'm excited to announce that we've opened signups on Nextjournal today and we invite everybody to join the Nextjournal public beta. We believe there's a better way to collaborate on computational notebooks and share results. Let me show you how:

Nextjournal is making it easier to generate, acquire and internalize knowledge. That sounds rather abstract so let's make it more concrete: when we share knowledge today — be it in the form of blog posts or scientific papers — we're only sharing the final result. The analysis behind this result is mostly inaccessible. Even if we're lucky and the code is available on GitHub or similar services, running it is hard if not impossible. Software rot, dependency hell and missing data files are just a few of the problems we experience.

It's critical and possible to address these problems and that's our mission. Let me walk you through the core ideas behind Nextjournal and show you how we can help you to collaborate better.

An Integrated Computational Notebook

At its core, Nextjournal is a computational notebook for literate programming. This means that any Nextjournal notebook can also be interpreted as program by the computer. By "integrated" we mean that we automate a lot of manual work for you, allowing you to focus on your analysis instead. Want to revise a colleague’s work from years in the past? With Nextjournal, your colleague’s article is a self-contained system, so editing it at a later time will just work. The system ensures that, if the code ran for your colleague, it will also run for you. Nextjournal’s future-proof artifacts keep useful for you and your peers:

A Multi-Language System

Nextjournal is a system supporting different programming languages (Python, Julia and R being the most popular ones), not yet another new programming language you have to learn. Our goal is to make running your existing code on the platform as easy as possible. You can import your Jupyter or Markdown notebooks, Docker images, GitHub repositories and data files from folders in the cloud:

Our built-in secrets management makes accessing private data secure and easy to use:

Automatic Version Control

Every change you make to a notebook or data file is automatically versioned controlled in Nextjournal. This allows you to experiment without fear of losing work.

You also have the ability to completely customize your computational environment, including packages, system libraries, down to the linux distribution.

With a few clicks, we save and store all of this for you, including the exact versions of any libraries you've installed, as a Docker image. This image can be easily reused in other notebooks or on your local machine.

Learning Through Play

By making easy what would typically be a cumbersome and manual task — the version controlling of your complete computational environment — it becomes much easier to build on top of each other’s work. In Nextjournal you can remix any notebook with a single click and start playing with it in seconds.

Try It!

If you’re looking for better ways to collaboratively do data science with your team or for sharing your research, please give Nextjournal a try and let us know what you think.