Open data and digital morphology

Thomas G. Davies Davies, Stephan Lautenschlager, Imran Rahman, John Cunningham, Robert Asher, Paul Barrett, Karl Bates, Stefan Bengtson, Roger Benson, Doug Boyer, Jose Braga, Jen Bright, Leon Claessons, Phil Cox, Xi-Ping Dong, Alistair Evans, Peter Falkingham, Matt Friedman, Russell Garwood, Anjali GoswamiJOhn Hutchinson, Nathan Jeffrey, Zerina Johanson, Renaud Lebrun, Carlos Martínez-Pérez Martínez-Pérez, Jesús Marugán-Lobón Marugán-Lobón, Paul O'Higgins, Brian Metscher, Maëva Orliac Orliac, Timothy Rowe, Martin Rücklin Rücklin, Marcelo R. Sánchez-Villagra Sánchez-Villagra, Neil Shubin, Selena Smith, Matthias Starck Starck, Chris Stringer, Adam Summers Summers, Mark Sutton, Stig Walsh, Vera Weisbecker Weisbecker, Lawrence Witmer, Stephen Wroe, Zongjun Yin Yin, Emily Rayfield, Philip Donoghue Donoghue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)
216 Downloads (Pure)


Over the past two decades, the development of methods for visualizing and analysing specimens digitally, in three and even four dimensions, has transformed the study of living and fossil organisms. However, the initial promise that the widespread application of such methods would facilitate access to the underlying digital data has not been fully achieved. The underlying datasets for many published studies are not readily or freely available, introducing a barrier to verification and reproducibility, and the reuse of data. There is no current agreement or policy on the amount and type of data that should be made available alongside studies that use, and in some cases are wholly reliant on, digital morphology. Here, we propose a set of recommendations for minimum standards and additional best practice for three-dimensional digital data publication, and review the issues around data storage, management and accessibility.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRoyal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences
Early online date12 Apr 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Apr 2017


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