Provenance Best Practices

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During the ETH Provenance Challenge we identify some "Best practices" in the production of provenance-rich scientific work.

Minimal requirement:

  • use version control for sources and scripts
  • commit often
  • store the revision number/repository state
  • create a directory per figure containing relevant scripts
  • store the numbers for the data in the plot in an accompanying text file
  • upload raw output
  • describe the post-processing procedure that turns raw data into plotted values


Additional features:

  • store build information
    • store branch, revision number, build time and node.
    • any data output should have attributes from where this information can be recovered (i.e. headers of text file, or attibutes in hdf5)
  • store runtime settings
    • store command line arguments, runtime and node
  • link figures to evaluation scripts and data
    • if you get the PDF figure, can you go back to the version of code and parameters used in the simulation?