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Faculty for Biology, Chemistry, and Earth Sciences

Department of Mycology: Prof. Dr. Gerhard Rambold

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Harjes, J; Link, A; Weibulat, T; Triebel, D; Rambold, G: FAIR digital objects in environmental and life sciences should comprise workflow operation design data and method information for repeatability of study setups and reproducibility of results, Database, 2020 (2020), doi:10.1093/database/baaa059
Repeatability of study setups and reproducibility of research results by underlying data are major requirements in science. Until now, abstract models for describing the structural logic of studies in environmental sciences are lacking and tools for data management are insufficient. Mandatory for repeatability and reproducibility is the use of sophisticated data management solutions going beyond data file sharing. Particularly, it implies maintenance of coherent data along workflows. Design data concern elements from elementary domains of operations being transformation, measurement and transaction. Operation design elements and method information are specified for each consecutive workflow segment from field to laboratory campaigns. The strict linkage of operation design element values, operation values and objects is essential. For enabling coherence of corresponding objects along consecutive workflow segments, the assignment of unique identifiers and the specification of their relations are mandatory. The abstract model presented here addresses these aspects and the software DiversityDescriptions (DWB-DD) facilitates the management of thusly connected digital data objects and structures. DWB-DD allows for an individual specification of operation design elements and their linking to objects. Two workflow design use cases, one for DNA barcoding and another for cultivation of fungal isolates, are given. To publish those structured data, standard schema mapping and XML-provision of digital objects is essential. Schemas useful for this mapping include the Ecological Markup Language (EML), the Schema for Meta-omics Data of Collection Objects (MOD-CO) and the Standard for Structured Descriptive Data (SDD). Data pipelines with DWB-DD include the mapping and conversion between schemas and functions for data publishing and archiving according to the Open Archival information System (OAIS)-standard. The setting allows for repeatability of study setups, reproducibility of study results, and for supporting work groups to structure and maintain their data from the beginning of a study. The theory of 'FAIR++' digital objects is introduced.
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