Authors : Daniel S. Falster, Richard G. FitzJohn, Matthew W. Pennell, William K. Cornwell
The sharing and re-use of data has become a cornerstone of modern science. Multiple platforms now allow quick and easy data sharing. So far, however, data publishing models have not accommodated on-going scientific improvements in data: for many problems, datasets continue to grow with time — more records are added, errors fixed, and new data structures are created. In other words, datasets, like scientific knowledge, advance with time.
We therefore suggest that many datasets would be usefully published as a series of versions, with a simple naming system to allow users to perceive the type of change between versions. In this article, we argue for adopting the paradigm and processes for versioned data, analogous to software versioning.
We also introduce a system called Versioned Data Delivery and present tools for creating, archiving, and distributing versioned data easily, quickly, and cheaply. These new tools allow for individual research groups to shift from a static model of data curation to a dynamic and versioned model that more naturally matches the scientific process.