Trends in Use of Scientific Workflows: Insights from a Public Repository and Recommendations for Best Practice

Richard Littauer, Karthik Ram, Bertram Ludäscher, William Michener, Rebecca Koskela


Scientific workflows are typically used to automate the processing, analysis and management of scientific data. Most scientific workflow programs provide a user-friendly graphical user interface that enables scientists to more easily create and visualize complex workflows that may be comprised of dozens of processing and analytical steps. Furthermore, many workflows provide mechanisms for tracing provenance and methodologies that foster reproducible science. Despite their potential for enabling science, few studies have examined how the process of creating, executing, and sharing workflows can be improved. In order to promote open discourse and access to scientific methods as well as data, we analyzed a wide variety of workflow systems and publicly available workflows on the public repository myExperiment. It is hoped that understanding the usage of workflows and developing a set of recommended best practices will lead to increased contribution of workflows to the public domain.

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The International Journal of Digital Curation. ISSN: 1746-8256
The IJDC is published by the University of Edinburgh
and is a publication of the Digital Curation Centre.