Transparency, usability, and reproducibility

Guiding principles for improving comparative databases using primates as examples

Carola Borries, Aaron A. Sandel, Andreas Koenig, Eduardo Fernandez-Duque, Jason M. Kamilar, Caroline R. Amoroso, Robert A. Barton, Joel Bray, Anthony Di Fiore, Ian Gilby, Adam D. Gordon, Roger Mundry, Markus Port, Lauren E. Powell, Anne E. Pusey, Amanda Spriggs, Charles L. Nunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent decades have seen rapid development of new analytical methods to investigate patterns of interspecific variation. Yet these cutting-edge statistical analyses often rely on data of questionable origin, varying accuracy, and weak comparability, which seem to have reduced the reproducibility of studies. It is time to improve the transparency of comparative data while also making these improved data more widely available. We, the authors, met to discuss how transparency, usability, and reproducibility of comparative data can best be achieved. We propose four guiding principles: 1) data identification with explicit operational definitions and complete descriptions of methods; 2) inclusion of metadata that capture key characteristics of the data, such as sample size, geographic coordinates, and nutrient availability (for example, captive versus wild animals); 3) documentation of the original reference for each datum; and 4) facilitation of effective interactions with the data via user friendly and transparent interfaces. We urge reviewers, editors, publishers, database developers and users, funding agencies, researchers publishing their primary data, and those performing comparative analyses to embrace these standards to increase the transparency, usability, and reproducibility of comparative studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-238
Number of pages7
JournalEvolutionary Anthropology
Volume25
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

Fingerprint

transparency
documentation
animal
editor
funding
inclusion
interaction

Keywords

  • data provenance
  • metadata
  • primary sources
  • procedure documentation
  • user interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology

Cite this

Borries, C., Sandel, A. A., Koenig, A., Fernandez-Duque, E., Kamilar, J. M., Amoroso, C. R., ... Nunn, C. L. (2016). Transparency, usability, and reproducibility: Guiding principles for improving comparative databases using primates as examples. Evolutionary Anthropology, 25(5), 232-238. https://doi.org/10.1002/evan.21502

Transparency, usability, and reproducibility : Guiding principles for improving comparative databases using primates as examples. / Borries, Carola; Sandel, Aaron A.; Koenig, Andreas; Fernandez-Duque, Eduardo; Kamilar, Jason M.; Amoroso, Caroline R.; Barton, Robert A.; Bray, Joel; Di Fiore, Anthony; Gilby, Ian; Gordon, Adam D.; Mundry, Roger; Port, Markus; Powell, Lauren E.; Pusey, Anne E.; Spriggs, Amanda; Nunn, Charles L.

In: Evolutionary Anthropology, Vol. 25, No. 5, 01.09.2016, p. 232-238.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Borries, C, Sandel, AA, Koenig, A, Fernandez-Duque, E, Kamilar, JM, Amoroso, CR, Barton, RA, Bray, J, Di Fiore, A, Gilby, I, Gordon, AD, Mundry, R, Port, M, Powell, LE, Pusey, AE, Spriggs, A & Nunn, CL 2016, 'Transparency, usability, and reproducibility: Guiding principles for improving comparative databases using primates as examples', Evolutionary Anthropology, vol. 25, no. 5, pp. 232-238. https://doi.org/10.1002/evan.21502
Borries, Carola ; Sandel, Aaron A. ; Koenig, Andreas ; Fernandez-Duque, Eduardo ; Kamilar, Jason M. ; Amoroso, Caroline R. ; Barton, Robert A. ; Bray, Joel ; Di Fiore, Anthony ; Gilby, Ian ; Gordon, Adam D. ; Mundry, Roger ; Port, Markus ; Powell, Lauren E. ; Pusey, Anne E. ; Spriggs, Amanda ; Nunn, Charles L. / Transparency, usability, and reproducibility : Guiding principles for improving comparative databases using primates as examples. In: Evolutionary Anthropology. 2016 ; Vol. 25, No. 5. pp. 232-238.
@article{97e1c5f11cf948a3acc57716c5bac0f6,
title = "Transparency, usability, and reproducibility: Guiding principles for improving comparative databases using primates as examples",
abstract = "Recent decades have seen rapid development of new analytical methods to investigate patterns of interspecific variation. Yet these cutting-edge statistical analyses often rely on data of questionable origin, varying accuracy, and weak comparability, which seem to have reduced the reproducibility of studies. It is time to improve the transparency of comparative data while also making these improved data more widely available. We, the authors, met to discuss how transparency, usability, and reproducibility of comparative data can best be achieved. We propose four guiding principles: 1) data identification with explicit operational definitions and complete descriptions of methods; 2) inclusion of metadata that capture key characteristics of the data, such as sample size, geographic coordinates, and nutrient availability (for example, captive versus wild animals); 3) documentation of the original reference for each datum; and 4) facilitation of effective interactions with the data via user friendly and transparent interfaces. We urge reviewers, editors, publishers, database developers and users, funding agencies, researchers publishing their primary data, and those performing comparative analyses to embrace these standards to increase the transparency, usability, and reproducibility of comparative studies.",
keywords = "data provenance, metadata, primary sources, procedure documentation, user interaction",
author = "Carola Borries and Sandel, {Aaron A.} and Andreas Koenig and Eduardo Fernandez-Duque and Kamilar, {Jason M.} and Amoroso, {Caroline R.} and Barton, {Robert A.} and Joel Bray and {Di Fiore}, Anthony and Ian Gilby and Gordon, {Adam D.} and Roger Mundry and Markus Port and Powell, {Lauren E.} and Pusey, {Anne E.} and Amanda Spriggs and Nunn, {Charles L.}",
year = "2016",
month = "9",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1002/evan.21502",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "25",
pages = "232--238",
journal = "Evolutionary Anthropology",
issn = "1060-1538",
publisher = "Wiley-Liss Inc.",
number = "5",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Transparency, usability, and reproducibility

T2 - Guiding principles for improving comparative databases using primates as examples

AU - Borries, Carola

AU - Sandel, Aaron A.

AU - Koenig, Andreas

AU - Fernandez-Duque, Eduardo

AU - Kamilar, Jason M.

AU - Amoroso, Caroline R.

AU - Barton, Robert A.

AU - Bray, Joel

AU - Di Fiore, Anthony

AU - Gilby, Ian

AU - Gordon, Adam D.

AU - Mundry, Roger

AU - Port, Markus

AU - Powell, Lauren E.

AU - Pusey, Anne E.

AU - Spriggs, Amanda

AU - Nunn, Charles L.

PY - 2016/9/1

Y1 - 2016/9/1

N2 - Recent decades have seen rapid development of new analytical methods to investigate patterns of interspecific variation. Yet these cutting-edge statistical analyses often rely on data of questionable origin, varying accuracy, and weak comparability, which seem to have reduced the reproducibility of studies. It is time to improve the transparency of comparative data while also making these improved data more widely available. We, the authors, met to discuss how transparency, usability, and reproducibility of comparative data can best be achieved. We propose four guiding principles: 1) data identification with explicit operational definitions and complete descriptions of methods; 2) inclusion of metadata that capture key characteristics of the data, such as sample size, geographic coordinates, and nutrient availability (for example, captive versus wild animals); 3) documentation of the original reference for each datum; and 4) facilitation of effective interactions with the data via user friendly and transparent interfaces. We urge reviewers, editors, publishers, database developers and users, funding agencies, researchers publishing their primary data, and those performing comparative analyses to embrace these standards to increase the transparency, usability, and reproducibility of comparative studies.

AB - Recent decades have seen rapid development of new analytical methods to investigate patterns of interspecific variation. Yet these cutting-edge statistical analyses often rely on data of questionable origin, varying accuracy, and weak comparability, which seem to have reduced the reproducibility of studies. It is time to improve the transparency of comparative data while also making these improved data more widely available. We, the authors, met to discuss how transparency, usability, and reproducibility of comparative data can best be achieved. We propose four guiding principles: 1) data identification with explicit operational definitions and complete descriptions of methods; 2) inclusion of metadata that capture key characteristics of the data, such as sample size, geographic coordinates, and nutrient availability (for example, captive versus wild animals); 3) documentation of the original reference for each datum; and 4) facilitation of effective interactions with the data via user friendly and transparent interfaces. We urge reviewers, editors, publishers, database developers and users, funding agencies, researchers publishing their primary data, and those performing comparative analyses to embrace these standards to increase the transparency, usability, and reproducibility of comparative studies.

KW - data provenance

KW - metadata

KW - primary sources

KW - procedure documentation

KW - user interaction

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84991628642&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84991628642&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/evan.21502

DO - 10.1002/evan.21502

M3 - Article

VL - 25

SP - 232

EP - 238

JO - Evolutionary Anthropology

JF - Evolutionary Anthropology

SN - 1060-1538

IS - 5

ER -