Virtual Reference Environments: a simple way to make research reproducible
'Reproducible research' has received increasing attention over the past few years as bioinformatics and computational biology methodologies become more complex. Although reproducible research is progressing in several valuable ways, we suggest that recent increases in internet bandwidth and disk space, along with the availability of open-source and free-software licences for tools, enable another simple step to make research reproducible. In this article, we urge the creation of minimal virtual reference environments implementing all the tools necessary to reproduce a result, as a standard part of publication. We address potential problems with this approach, and show an example environment from our own work.