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Open data and digital morphology

Davies, Thomas G.; Rahman, Imran A.; Lautenschlager, Stephan; Cunningham, John A.; Asher, Robert J.; Barrett, Paul M.; Bates, Karl T.; Bengtson, Stefan; Benson, Roger B. J.; Boyer, Doug M.; Braga, José; Bright, Jen A.; Claessens, Leon P. A. M.; Cox, Philip G.; Dong, Xi Ping; Evans, Alistair R.; Falkingham, Peter L.; Friedman, Matt; Garwood, Russell J.; Goswami, Anjali; Hutchinson, John R.; Jeffery, Nathan S.; Johanson, Zerina; Lebrun, Renaud; Martínez-Pérez, Carlos; Marugán-Lobón, Jesús; O'Higgins, Paul M.; Metscher, Brian; Orliac, Maëva; Rowe, Timothy B.; Rücklin, Martin; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R.; Shubin, Neil H.; Smith, Selena Y.; Starck, J. Matthias; Stringer, Chris; Summers, Adam P.; Sutton, Mark D.; Walsh, Stig A.; Weisbecker, Vera; Witmer, Lawrence M.; Wroe, Stephen; Yin, Zongjun; Rayfield, Emily J.; Donoghue, Philip C. J.


Thomas G. Davies

Imran A. Rahman

Stephan Lautenschlager

John A. Cunningham

Robert J. Asher

Paul M. Barrett

Karl T. Bates

Stefan Bengtson

Roger B. J. Benson

Doug M. Boyer

José Braga

Leon P. A. M. Claessens

Philip G. Cox

Xi Ping Dong

Alistair R. Evans

Peter L. Falkingham

Matt Friedman

Russell J. Garwood

Anjali Goswami

John R. Hutchinson

Nathan S. Jeffery

Zerina Johanson

Renaud Lebrun

Carlos Martínez-Pérez

Jesús Marugán-Lobón

Paul M. O'Higgins

Brian Metscher

Maëva Orliac

Timothy B. Rowe

Martin Rücklin

Marcelo R. Sánchez-Villagra

Neil H. Shubin

Selena Y. Smith

J. Matthias Starck

Chris Stringer

Adam P. Summers

Mark D. Sutton

Stig A. Walsh

Vera Weisbecker

Lawrence M. Witmer

Stephen Wroe

Zongjun Yin

Emily J. Rayfield

Philip C. J. Donoghue


Over the past two decades, the development of methods for visualizing and analysing specimens digitally, in three and even four dimensions, has transformed the study of living and fossil organisms. However, the initial promise that the widespread application of such methods would facilitate access to the underlying digital data has not been fully achieved. The underlying datasets for many published studies are not readily or freely available, introducing a barrier to verification and reproducibility, and the reuse of data. There is no current agreement or policy on the amount and type of data that should be made available alongside studies that use, and in some cases are wholly reliant on, digital morphology. Here, we propose a set of recommendations for minimum standards and additional best practice for three-dimensional digital data publication, and review the issues around data storage, management and accessibility.


Benson, R. B., Claessens, L. P., O’Higgins, P. M., Donoghue, P. C., Davies, T. G., Rahman, I. A., …Donoghue, P. C. J. (2017). Open data and digital morphology. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 284(1852),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 10, 2017
Online Publication Date Apr 12, 2017
Publication Date Apr 12, 2017
Deposit Date Nov 28, 2019
Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Print ISSN 0962-8452
Electronic ISSN 1471-2954
Publisher The Royal Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 284
Issue 1852
Public URL
Additional Information Received: 2017-01-30; Accepted: 2017-03-10; Published: 2017-04-12


Davies Et Al. 2017 - Open Data And Digital Morphology (327 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
© 2017 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original
author and source are credited.

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