Better Science Faster

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Source: University of California, Santa Barbara

In 2012, scientists at UC Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) launched the Ocean Health Index (OHI), a scientific framework to measure and track the health of the world’s oceans. Working in partnership with the nonprofit Conservation International, the OHI team measured the combined benefits that oceans sustainably provide for people — from wild-caught and farmed seafood to habitats that protect coastlines. Annual status reports show how and where to improve ocean management.

Now, OHI researchers are transforming the way marine scientists engage with coastal management by leveraging practices and tools used by Silicon Valley software developers to promote teamwork. Employing several free software solutions that upgrade collaborative research, the team has been able to make its entire workflow more transparent and streamlined while enhancing the reproducibility of their data methods. The way in which OHI scientists adopted these “high-tech” practices is described in a new paper in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. 

“We combine best practices from ocean sciences and data science to help inform the management of coastlines around the world,” says co-author Benjamin Halpern, NCEAS director and OHI chief scientist. “It was humbling to have so carefully documented what we did the first time around and then realize that it wasn’t enough to efficiently repeat our work. We’ve had to completely change the way we do science. Now we do better science, and we also can do it much faster.”

To view the complete story, open the attached news release, or go to http://www.news.ucsb.edu/2017/017990/better-science-faster

The software to download the attached PDF is free and downloadable at http://www.adobe.com/products/reader.html

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