myExperiment

myExperiment is an online social networking service aimed at scientific researchers; the site fosters collaboration by allowing members to share scientific workflows, experiment plans, and other digital objects.

Provider

Southampton, Manchester, and Oxford Universities, as part of three European Commission 7th Framework Programme (FP7) projects – BioVel (Biodiversity Virtual e-Laboratory), SCAPE (Scalable Preservation Environments) and WF4Ever (Workflow Forever).

Licensing and cost

The service is free. myExperiment Wiki content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported licence; the myExperiment Ruby on Rails codebase is available under a BSD Licence.

Development activity

myExperiment publicly launched in November 2007.

Current development is supported by the Wf4Ever project, which runs until November 2013, the SCAPE project, which runs until July 2014, and the BioVel project, which runs until August 2014, as well as e-Research South and myGrid EPSRC Platform grants.

Platform and interoperability

myExperiment is a web-based application, which renders it platform agnostic. The service incorporates workflows from multiple systems, including Taverna, Trident, and its sister project, BioCatalogue.

Functional notes

myExperiment revolves around the sharing of scientific workflows and other research objects. The service encourages users to upload files and workflows and create bundles of these objects called packs, which can include both internal myExperiment resources and links to externally available items. Descriptions can be set up for the pack in general and for each item independently. The system will display relevant metadata, components, and visual workflow previews.

Users share these resources with other registered members, often forming groups and using the internal messaging system to rate, review, and comment upon a set of objects; the system collects version history for workflows.

Documentation and user support

Documentation takes the form of a wiki, which includes a FAQ and links to explanatory videos.

The service also lists a contact email for reporting bugs.

Usability

myExperiment uses a straightforward web interface. The site advertises that the design process has been user-driven, incorporating feedback from questionnaires, evaluation sessions, and other exchanges.

Expertise required

To take full advantage of the service, users should be familiar with scientific workflow configuration and use.

Standards compliance

All the myExperiment services are accessible through simple RESTful programming interfaces, Linked Data and a SPARQL endpoint.

Influence and take-up

As of writing, the site advertises that myExperiment has over 7500 members, who have formed about 300 groups, and hosts over 2500 workflows.

Last reviewed: 
12 June, 2013