Keeping modelling notebooks with TRACE: Good for you and good for environmental research and management support

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Daniel Ayllón, Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research-UFZ, Germany
  • Steven F. Railsback
  • ,
  • Cara Alyse Gallagher
  • ,
  • Jacqueline Augusiak
  • ,
  • Hans Baveco
  • ,
  • Uta Berger, Germany
  • Sandrine Charles, Université de Lyon, F-69000, Lyon; Université Lyon 1, CNRS, UMR5558, Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie Evolutive, F-69622 Villeurbanne, France, France
  • Romina Martin
  • ,
  • Andreas Focks, Alterra, University of Wageningen, Netherlands
  • Nika Galic
  • ,
  • Chun Liu
  • ,
  • Emiel van Loon, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Jacob Nabe-Nielsen
  • Cyril Piou
  • ,
  • J. Gareth Polhill
  • ,
  • Thomas G. Preuss, Institute for Environmental Research, RWTH Aachen University, Worringerweg 1, 52074 Aachen, Germany, Germany
  • Viktoriia Radchuk, Alfred-Kowalke-Strasse 17
  • ,
  • Amelie Schmolke
  • ,
  • Julita Stadnicka-Michalak
  • ,
  • Pernille Thorbek, Technische Universität Dresden
  • ,
  • Volker Grimm, UFZ, Universität Potsdam, German Ctr Integrat Biodivers Res iDiv, Denmark
The acceptance and usefulness of simulation models are often limited by the efficiency, transparency, reproducibility, and reliability of the modelling process. We address these issues by suggesting that modellers (1) “trace” the iterative modelling process by keeping a modelling notebook corresponding to the laboratory notebooks used by empirical researchers, (2) use a standardized notebook structure and terminology based on the existing TRACE documentation framework, and (3) use their notebooks to compile TRACE documents that supplement publications and reports. These practices have benefits for model developers, users, and stakeholders: improved and efficient model design, analysis, testing, and application; increased model acceptance and reuse; and replicability and reproducibility of the model and the simulation experiments. Using TRACE terminology and structure in modelling notebooks facilitates production of TRACE documents. We explain the rationale of TRACE, provide example TRACE documents, and suggest strategies for keeping “TRACE Modelling Notebooks.”
Original languageEnglish
Article number104932
JournalEnvironmental Modelling & Software
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

    Research areas

  • Environmental modelling, Model documentation, Modelling cycle, Reproducible research, Scientific communication, Standards

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