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A new cutting-edge platform is aiming to empower researchers and reshape the way they collaborate, explore and achieve reproducibility in their work. 

The ARDC’s BinderHub Service, hosted on the ARDC Nectar Research Cloud, was launched in August this year and is available to all Australian researchers.  

The BinderHub Service sits alongside the ARDC’s Jupyter Notebook Service and Virtual Desktop Service, hosted on the ARDC Nectar Research Cloud. These managed services are all free and accessible to all Australian researchers using their university or institutional account via the Australian Access Federation (AAF), thanks to investment by the Australian Government in the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). 

The ARDC worked with AARNet to develop the new national service for Australian researchers. The partnership created a valuable new service much faster than starting from scratch.  

All BinderHub instances are being instantiated on QRIScloud, QCIF’s cloud compute service and the Queensland node of the ARDC Nectar Research Cloud

Ben Chiu, Director, Services at ARDC, said: “While BinderHub is already in use across the research landscape in Australia, our new service removes technical barriers and enables researchers to easily share code across institutions throughout Australia. Our collaboration with AARNet has accelerated the delivery of this important new service for research.”  

QCIF CEO Sach Jayasinghe said: “The principle of open science is paramount in fully leveraging the efforts of our researchers and building broader community trust. Technical initiatives such as BinderHub are steps within our national research ecosystem to promote this open science principle. QCIF looks forward to seeing its uptake on QRIScloud.” 

What is BinderHub? 

BinderHub lets researchers create flexible and shareable code repositories. Developed by Project Jupyter, BinderHub allows researchers to turn their code, data, and computational environments into shareable, executable, and reproducible ‘Binder’ environments. This service is designed to foster collaboration, increase transparency, and facilitate the reproducibility of scientific findings. 

However, it takes considerable technical skill to set up BinderHub, which prevents many researchers from using it. The ARDC BinderHub Service takes that difficulty out of using this important tool for research. 

On the ARDC BinderHub Service, researchers can run various computing environments for their research. For example, the BinderHub service can point to GitHub or pre-packaged containers of notebooks, software and data, and spin up that containerised environment. Software need not be restricted to the computing environment offered by a particular instance of JupyterHub. 

The ARDC BinderHub Service makes it easy for colleagues to view and interact with your Jupyter Notebook. For example, if you want to share a Jupyter Notebook with colleagues, you can upload the Notebook into a GitHub repository. Your colleagues then use that GitHub repository link with BinderHub, which will create a space for them to view and interact with your Notebook. 

Share your research code and collaborate 

The ARDC’s launch of the BinderHub service is a significant step forward in supporting researchers with advanced tools for collaboration, exploration, and reproducibility. By adopting this platform, researchers can transcend the boundaries of traditional research dissemination and improve research transparency, reproducibility, and cooperation. 

BinderHub will soon be integrated into a number of ARDC-supported platforms, including the Australian Text Analytics Platform, and the ARDC Community Data Lab, which will launch later this year.  

To get started with BinderHub and explore its possibilities, learn more about the service, or log in to the ARDC BinderHub Service. 

The ARDC is funded through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) to support national digital research infrastructure for Australian researchers. 

This article is based on one published by ARDC on 15 August 2023.