Provenance-Enabled Automatic Data Publishing
Scientists are increasingly being called upon to publish their data as well as their conclusions. Yet computational science often necessarily occurs in exploratory, unstructured environments. Scientists are as likely to use one-off scripts, legacy programs, and volatile collections of data and parametric assumptions as they are to frame their investigations using easily reproducible workflows. The ES3 system can capture the provenance of such unstructured computations and make it available so that the results of such computations can be evaluated in the overall context of their inputs, implementation, and assumptions. Additionally, we find that such provenance can serve as an automatic “checklist” whereby the suitability of data (or other computational artifacts) for publication can be evaluated. We describe a system that, given the request to publish a particular computational artifact, traverses that artifact’s provenance and applies rule-based tests to each of the artifact’s computational antecedents to determine whether the artifact’s provenance is robust enough to justify its publication. Generically, such tests check for proper curation of the artifacts, which specifically can mean such things as: source code checked into a source control system; data accessible from a well-known repository; etc. Minimally, publish requests yield a report on an object’s fitness for publication, although such reports can easily drive an automated cleanup process that remedies many of the identified shortcomings.
Keywordsprovenance publishing curation
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