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The Taverna project is very interesting, in my not so humble opinion, because of the potential that workflows have. A workflow is a complete description of an experiment; that can now be shared through the myexperiment site.

The central point of a scientific experiment is that it should be repeatable, by the researcher and by others. Many bioinformatics journal papers describe experiments of a sort that will not be repeatable years down the line, by anyone.

A concrete example is this paper by CH Robert and PS Ho, which describes an analysis of water bridges in proteins. A crucial line in the methods section is this :
"All programs were written with FORTRAN 77 on a Silicon Graphics Iris workstation or with MATHEMATICA...on a Macintosh IIci computer."
Which is really great if, 10 years later, you want to re-run their method on more than the 100 high-resolution structures that were available at the time. Do their programs still exist? Do I have access to an Iris machine (I used them in Birkbeck once, I think) let alone a Macintosh IIci!

So, if at all possible, could anyone doing some computational research (I'm looking at you, PhD students) use some kind of tool like Taverna or Kepler and then provide a reference in the paper to a site with the workflow on it. Hopefully, with source code repository information, and revision numbers, even the particular version of the programs used could be retrieved.

Is it a lot to ask?


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