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rBEFdata: Documenting data exchange and analysis for a collaborative data management platform
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Envisaged journal:
Ecology and Evolution
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We are witnessing a growing gap separating primary research data from derived data products presented as knowledge in publications. Although journals today more often require the underlying data products used to derive the results as a prerequisite for a publication the important link to the primary data is lost. However documenting the post-processing steps of data linking the primary data with derived data products has the potential to increase the accuracy and the reproducibility of scientific findings significantly. Here we introduce the rBEFdata R package as companion to the collaborative data management platform BEFdata. The R package provides programmatic access to features of the platform. It allows to search for data and integrates the search with external thesauri to improve the data discovery. It allows to download and import data and metadata into R for analysis. A batched download is available as well which works along a paper proposal mechanism implemented by BEFdata. This feature of BEFdata allows to group primary data and metadata and streamlines discussions and collaborations revolving around a certain research idea. The upload functionality of the R package in combination with the paper proposal mechanism of the portal allows to attach derived data products and scripts directly from R, thus addressing major aspects of documenting data post-processing. We present the core features of the rBEFdata R package along an ecological analysis example and further discuss the potential of post processing documentation for data, linking primary data with derived data products and knowledge.
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