Quality assurance of code for analysis and research#
This Government Analysis Function (AF) guidance, also known as the Duck Book, is produced by the Analysis Standards and Pipelines hub of the Office for National Statistics.
This guidance is a living document, which is continually updated. We are extremely grateful for any feedback that you are able to provide on existing and future content.
How to get the most out of the book#
This guidance describes software engineering good practices that are tailored to those working with data using code. It is designed for those who would like to quality assure their code and increase the reproducibility of their analyses. Software that apply these practices are referred to as reproducible analytical pipelines (RAP).
This guidance is relevant if you are:
writing code to automate part of your work and would like to assure that it is working as expected
developing statistical or data engineering pipelines and would like to assure that they are sustainable and reproducible
developing models and would like to assure that they are transparent and reproducible
developing data science techniques and would like your code to be useful to others
looking for a high level introduction to software engineering practices in the context of analysis and research
The good practices outlined in the book are general to many applications of programming, so may also be relevant for those outside of government.
The RAP learning pathway provides training for many of these good practices. This book can be used to guide your learning and as a reference when applying these practices in your work. Each chapter describes the risks that each practice may help to address. As recommended by the Aqua book, you should strive to apply the most appropriate quality assurance practices given the risks associated with your work.
The principles in this book are language agnostic. The book does not aim to form a comprehensive learning resource and you may often need to study further resources to implement these practices. That said, examples and useful references are provided for Python and R, as open source languages that are commonly applied across government.
The Analysis Standards and Pipelines hub supports government analysis by providing guidance, consultancy and training.
You can find us on:
Citing the book#
The following structure can be used to reference the current version of the book:
UK Government Analytical Community. (2020). Quality assurance of code for analysis and research (version 2023.2). Office for National Statistics, Analytical Standards and Pipelines hub: https://best-practice-and-impact.github.io/qa-of-code-guidance/
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Help us improve this book#
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