Why Whole Tale?

Whole Tale is developing open-source tools and infrastructure intended to simply the process of creating, publishing, and verifying computational research artifacts in conformance with community standards (Chard et al. [1]).

Research communities across the sciences are increasingly concerned with the replication of computationally-obtained results and reuse of research software to both increase trust in and the scientific impact of published research. Transparent, reproducible, and reusable research artifacts are seen as essential to sustaining and further accelerating scientific discovery. However, ensuring the transparency and reproducibility of results or reusability of software presents many challenges, both technological and social. Many communities are turning to peer-review processes as a means to encourage and enforce new practices and standards (Willis and Stodden [2]).

For more information, see the report of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine on Reproducibility and Replicability in Science.

What is a “Tale”?

Whole Tale defines a model for computational reproducibility that captures the input, output, data, code, execution environment, provenance and other metadata about the results of computational research. We refer to this model as a tale – a composite research object that includes the environment, configuration, metadata, code, and data objects required to fully reproduce computational results (Chard et al. [3]). Technically speaking, a tale’s computational environment is defined by a Docker image specification that can be published to an external archive – along with your code and data – and re-run either in Whole Tale or even on your laptop.

What can Whole Tale do?

Having created a tale, a researcher can share it with others, publish it to a research repository (such as Zenodo or Dataverse), associate a persistent identifier, and link it to publications. Other researchers or reviewers can instantiate the published version of the Tale and execute it in the same state as at the time it was when published. Tales may also contain intellectual property metadata with licensing information enabling re-use, reproducibility, giving credit, as well as for broad access.

Who uses Whole Tale?

Whole Tale is intended for researchers, editors, curators, and reviewers of published computational research.