myExperiment is an open source Web 2.0 repository solution for the born-digital items arising in contemporary research practice. Carefully tailored to the needs of researchers, myExperiment makes it really easy to discover, use, store, share and curate items, to build communities and to form relationships.
Developed under the Virtual Research Environment programme and launched in November 2007, our public repository (myexperiment.org) has established a significant collection of scientific workflows, spanning multiple disciplines and multiple workflow systems, which is accessed by thousands of users worldwide. The collection serves both researchers and learners: ranging from self-contained, high value research analysis methods referenced by the journal publications that discuss the results of their use, to training workflows that encode routine best practice scientific analyses or illustrate new techniques for new kinds of research data. Recognising that researchers work not just with individual items but with collections of items associated with a particular study, myExperiment also introduced “packs” – a Pack aggregates internal and external content but is itself a single entity which can be tagged, reviewed, published, shared and curated.
The myExperiment Repository Enhancement Project is building on this success to deliver an enhanced repository which is coupled seamlessly with EPrints at University of Southampton and the eScholar institutional repository at The University of Manchester (a customised version of Fedora). During the enhancement project we are evolving Packs into more sophisticated “Research Objects” which support replayable, repeatable, reproducible, reusable, repurposable and reliable research. We believe that in the future the sharing of such Research Objects will enhance and ultimately replace the sharing of academic publications in research practice.
Already myExperiment has established itself as a valuable and unique repository with an established and growing international presence, an important component in the revolution in sharing and publishing scientific results. It has also demonstrated the success of blending modern social curation methods (social tagging, crowd sourcing) with the demands of researchers sharing hard-won intellectual assets and research works within a scholarly communication lifecycle. Through the myExperiment Enhancement Project our socio-technical approach will be applied more broadly to repositories, and we will establish solutions, conduct case studies, deliver tools and produce best practice recommendations for all the repository community.
myExperiment is a joint project led by David De Roure in University of Southampton and Carole Goble in The University of Manchester. The myExperiment wiki (wiki.myexperiment.org) carries full details of the project for users and for the developer community.